Students at Missouri colleges must now be vaccinated for meningitis under a state law that took effect July 1.
Dr. Susan Even with the Mizzou Student Health Center says a person who develops meningitis can get sick very quickly and the early symptoms might look like a case of influenza. The infection actually causes an inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Even says infants, middle schoolers and 16 to 22 year olds are most susceptible to meningitis.
She says the new law makes sense for colleges.
“Young people who are in close contact with one another, whether they’re in college residence halls or in other close settings in classrooms are also at high risk,” said Even. “Parents or maybe even physicians in outlying towns across the country may not be as aware of the potential impact of a case of meningococcal disease.”
Even says Princeton, the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Oregon have experienced meningitis outbreaks in recent years.