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How important is the meningitis vaccine for dorm bound students?


Sharon77
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Living in a dorm? Non negotiable. One of my nieces got it when still in high school....her mom thought it was a bad flu bug.  Just happened to mention how ill Becky felt when talking to her mom (my MIL) on the phone - high fever, awful headache - and MIL instantly asked "Can she touch her chin to her chest?"  Why no, she could not.  MIL insisted Becky be taken to ER immediately, Yup - meningitis.  Smart grandma probably saved that teen.

Edited by JFSinIL
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Ds had seizures as a child and because of that we delayed and selectively vaxed. We did the meningitis vaccine for both kids though. There was just no way I would let them live in a dorm without it. My kids would both go to bed and try to sleep it off if they felt bad. We aren't the 'rush to the doctor' types. This is a recipe for disaster with meningitis and just wasn't worth the risk.

 

No reactions here, but mine never had any severe reactions so that doesn't mean anything for you Cat.

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I'm going to schedule my ds17 for the vaccine and I'm wondering if anyone has had any reactions to the shot. My ds had terrible reactions to vaccines when he was little, and I worry that he could react badly to this one as well.

 

My daughter reacts poorly to most vaccines.  She even reacted to polio and that one is considered pretty non-virulent.  She can't have the flu shot because she reacts badly.  But she didn't react at all to meningitis.  It was one of two she had no reaction at all to.

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A girl across the hall from me in freshman dorm had meningitis. It was so scary. She went to bed feeling fine and had to be rushed to the ER the next morning. Her parents hopped flights to get to the school as fast as they could and she missed a bunch of school. I wouldn't skip this one.

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We selectively vax; my dds had a neonatal seizure disorder and one of them had a severe reaction to the measles vaccine (we separated the MMR).  They haven't gotten HepB or Gardasil.

 

But everyone gets meningitis vax, for reasons others have mentioned: sudden, fast, quite deadly, and no real way to knowingly avoid it.

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That said, she is also an adult right?  She can make her own bone headed choices if she wants.  I cannot imagine forcing an adult to get a vaccine. 

 

If I'm helping to pay for dorm bills and health insurance costs for adult offspring, then I would feel every right to tell said offspring to get the shot as a condition of my financial assistance. Obviously if there is a legitimate medical reason to forgo the vaccination, I wouldn't. But if it's just a dislike of needles? Suck it up, cupcake!

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Here is an article from today about meningitis in dorms:

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117295&page=1

 

I'm interested in what you all think about risk to freshman as opposed to older dorm students. Also, freshmen in private rooms in suite style dorms- less concern? Since there are strains not covered in the vaccine, in addition to vaccinating, do you speak to your children about risky behaviors that lead to contracting meningitis, such as sharing drinks, food, cigarettes, and kissing?

 

Would any of you ever consider having your children live off campus because of that risk of getting meningitis from the strains that are not protected by the vaccine?

 

For those of you who have non-dorm-residing relatives who have gotten meningitis, do you consider anyone to be at risk in general, and if so, do you get vaccinated?

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Here is an article from today about meningitis in dorms:

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117295&page=1

 

I find this odd: From the article:

 

The study found that, of the 96 cases of meningococcal disease in college students, nearly a third were cases of college freshmen living in dormitory-style housing, even though that population only represented four percent of the total population studied.

 

I do not believe that these numbers can be correct and that only 4% of all college students are freshmen living in dorms. Approx 25% of all students are freshmen (there are more freshmen than other years, but then, there are some students who take longer than 4 years). Does really only 1 in 6 freshmen live in dorms? 

 

 

I'm interested in what you all think about risk to freshman as opposed to older dorm students. Also, freshmen in private rooms in suite style dorms- less concern? Since there are strains not covered in the vaccine, in addition to vaccinating, do you speak to your children about risky behaviors that lead to contracting meningitis, such as sharing drinks, food, cigarettes, and kissing?

 

Not more than for any other illness. Don't go around kissing random people. But no, fear of meningitis is not a reason not to kiss your bf/gf. 

 

 

Would any of you ever consider having your children live off campus because of that risk of getting meningitis from the strains that are not protected by the vaccine?

 

I'd be happy to have my kids live off campus for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with meningitis. Alas, their schools require two year dorm residency.

Edited by regentrude
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That said, she is also an adult right?  She can make her own bone headed choices if she wants.  I cannot imagine forcing an adult to get a vaccine. 

 

Ds's dorm does not require it, and, technically, it was his choice as an adult, but I made it very clear how horrible it was and so did his doctor.  He had the regular one last year before his freshman year and just got the B shot.  We have been selective and delayed, but this was a no-brainer for us.

 

In relation to another post, it is likely more dangerous if it is suite style with single rooms.  Your roommate thinks you are sleeping in when you are actually dying.

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This person is going to college. She is an adult (or nearly so) How much control do the people saying this is "non negotiable" think they should have over other adults medical decision? Sure, let her know your opinion in it but ultimately it is up to her.

 

 

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Most schools require the regular meningitis vaccine. We've had outbreaks at both U of O and OSU of meningitis B in the last few years, and this one is not typically vaccinated against in the U.S. One U of O student died, and I think all were hospitalized and seriously ill. A football player who fell ill coming home from an away game recovered and is back on the field this year but he missed all of spring practice and describes his ordeal with terms like "almost died." Once they had more than 2 cases on campus, they offered meningitis B vaccines to all students. I will asking dd's doctor if that is available when we get her vaccinated for college next spring or summer.

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My son is heading off to college in a couple of weeks.  He is not getting the vaccine.   

Can you share a little more about your thought process on this?  Obvs. if you don't want to, that's ok.  But I am always interested in learning more about people's choices in life, especially when they are different from "what everyone else is doing".

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In relation to another post, it is likely more dangerous if it is suite style with single rooms.  Your roommate thinks you are sleeping in when you are actually dying.

 

 

This makes sense as long as sharing a room didn't contribute to getting meningitis in the first place.  

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Below is the URL of the web page of Texas Tech University about this vaccination. Although they do.permit some exceptions, I would prefer they did not permit those exceptions. Quoting from that page, "Because of the severity and potential fatality of meningococcal disease (bacterial meningitis), please consult a physician about the need for the vaccine before seeking this exemption"

 

This is the URL:  http://www.depts.ttu.edu/admissions/meningitis/

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This person is going to college. She is an adult (or nearly so) How much control do the people saying this is "non negotiable" think they should have over other adults medical decision? Sure, let her know your opinion in it but ultimately it is up to her.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Exactly my thought.  Of course there are ways to make saying no to it close to impossible, but that strikes me as highly manipulative and bordering on abusive.  I would not resort to such a tactic except under the most dire of circumstances.

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At least the person in the military who died was not living in a shared dorm room.  I think that living in a single is probably more likely to be a death hazard because no one knows you are sick and I don't think it makes a difference whether it is in a suite with others or not. 

 

My general rule whether anything is likely to happen or a clear out there event is do I know someone who has had that happen or whom it has happened in their family-the amount of people on here talking about relatives, friends, etc, who got it and nearly died or did die makes me more scared than I even was before. I am just glad my one kid in college now has had one shot in early teens and a second one right before college.

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This person is going to college. She is an adult (or nearly so) How much control do the people saying this is "non negotiable" think they should have over other adults medical decision? Sure, let her know your opinion in it but ultimately it is up to her.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

just as those colleges that require the vaccine are free to tell the "adult student" they've been disenrolled because the vax is mandatory for all students.   and yeah - there are universities where it's non-negotiable.

 

my dd had a health issue.  (paid all her own bills- including her mortgage)  I would advise, suggest, strongly encourage  - I finally told her if she wanted to ignore me and handle it (or not) herself - she was NOT allowed to gripe about it to me.

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I personally don't care if any of my kids develop some issue with flu vaccine- since both dd and I are ones who can be severely affected by flu, we require ds and other dd and my s-i-l to get them.  Since none of them want to be sick for two weeks anyway and value my and my other dd's life, they all do get them.

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So, I was thinking about how many households resemble a college dorm in that families spend a lot of time together closely, share food, drinks, chapstick, and towels,  toothbrushes are in the same glass, and they kiss each other.  What is a family's risk of catching the bacteria that causes meningitis from each other if they don't practice these behaviors with people outside the family?  I also wondered about asymptomatic carrier status, and did a quick search.  

 

I found this paper, 

 

Neisseria meningitidis: an overview of the carriage state

Siamak P. Yazdankhah  and Dominique A. Caugant 

 

http://www.microbiologyresearch.org/docserver/fulltext/jmm/53/9/JMM5309.821.pdf?expires=1502229708&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=E21B4EC7939FD5C3CED363085F2C6354

 

The authors say that about 10% of the population are asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria that causes meningitis, and maybe up to 45% if tonsil immunohistochemistry is used instead of nasal swabs.  The percentage is about 24-37% in the age group 15-24 years (nasal swabs).  Interestingly, the authors say that being a carrier helps resistance to meningitis because one's body makes antibodies.  Those who are not carriers are more at risk.  People who get the vaccination have antibody stimulation for 6-12 months.   If I read it correctly, it also says that asymptomatic carriers who get the vaccine lose carrier status, although that could be lost naturally if not exposed to carriers.  People who live in dorms seem to vaccinate each other, as the carrier status increases upon residence in dorms.   So I am assuming that meningitis occurs when a non carrier is under stress and is simultaneously exposed to the bacteria by an asymptomatic carrier.

 

This paper is old (2004) and I didn't read the citations or follow up, but it shows there's more to it.

 

 

 

 

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Question: why is it such a big deal now compared to two decades ago? I don't recall getting a meningitis vaccine (and I do remember some others, so I think I'd remember), nor do I recall it being a big deal on campus, and I went to a huge university. Is there a strain that's more contagious now? Or some other factor that's making it more contagious? How is it primarily spread? Most of our dorms were two-person rooms with a communal bathroom in the hallway. Our bathrooms were scoured at least once daily and were very clean. We each had our own dresser and closet so we didn't mix toothbrushes and such.

 

I'm not saying I wouldn't have my kids get the vaccine. That'll be up to them when they're adults. I was just wondering exactly how it's spreading.

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This person is going to college. She is an adult (or nearly so) How much control do the people saying this is "non negotiable" think they should have over other adults medical decision? Sure, let her know your opinion in it but ultimately it is up to her.

 

Newsflash... Soon to be college students don't know as much as they think they do... and are generally still willing to listen to parents, esp if parents are paying any part of the bill.  ;)

 

It wasn't that difficult for me to get even my "natural loving" youngest to get this shot.  If I had a resistant youngster, I'd probably let them read this thread if nothing else.  How many of us now know someone IRL who died or almost died from this?

 

So, I was thinking about how many households resemble a college dorm in that families spend a lot of time together closely, share food, drinks, chapstick, and towels,  toothbrushes are in the same glass, and they kiss each other.  What is a family's risk of catching the bacteria that causes meningitis from each other if they don't practice these behaviors with people outside the family?  I also wondered about asymptomatic carrier status, and did a quick search.  

 

I found this paper, 

 

Neisseria meningitidis: an overview of the carriage state

Siamak P. Yazdankhah  and Dominique A. Caugant 

 

http://www.microbiologyresearch.org/docserver/fulltext/jmm/53/9/JMM5309.821.pdf?expires=1502229708&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=E21B4EC7939FD5C3CED363085F2C6354

 

The authors say that about 10% of the population are asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria that causes meningitis, and maybe up to 45% if tonsil immunohistochemistry is used instead of nasal swabs.  The percentage is about 24-37% in the age group 15-24 years (nasal swabs).  Interestingly, the authors say that being a carrier helps resistance to meningitis because one's body makes antibodies.  Those who are not carriers are more at risk.  People who get the vaccination have antibody stimulation for 6-12 months.   If I read it correctly, it also says that asymptomatic carriers who get the vaccine lose carrier status, although that could be lost naturally if not exposed to carriers.  People who live in dorms seem to vaccinate each other, as the carrier status increases upon residence in dorms.   So I am assuming that meningitis occurs when a non carrier is under stress and is simultaneously exposed to the bacteria by an asymptomatic carrier.

 

This paper is old (2004) and I didn't read the citations or follow up, but it shows there's more to it.

 

From what I understand, the problem is this virus is pretty much everywhere and the added stress of college makes freshmen extra susceptible to coming down with it - then way too many think it's the flu (as I would have done).  At this point in life, I expect the vast majority of college freshmen get the shot (many schools require it).  If they didn't, I suspect the numbers coming down with it would be much higher.

 

One rarely gets the same stress at home.

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I do not think it necessarily is more dangerous than previously.  Universities and other mass living facilities have just gotten wiser about it.  There were recommendations about it in 2004, I think.  So military, some camps and more and more schools and colleges have gotten information about it.  When I was in college in early to mid 80's, I don't remember if anyone got it but I wasn't hearing about what happened at Northwestern or UofI Chicago campus or UI Champlain or Perdue or any other colleges in my surrounding area, and I don't think that public health disease awareness was all it could be in that era anyway considering that how long it took for AIDS to be recognized.  I am also not sure people were actually tested for what they died from in many cases-  meningitis, or maybe flu was assumed. 

 

I had viral meningitis as a sophomore in high school.  We had a bad flu outbreak and most kids got the flu and I got viral meningitis.  I got so sick from it that I could not continue in high school for the rest of my sophomore year. I was so weak for months and months and I had to have homebound education- they sent a teacher to my house once or twice a week.

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I find this odd: From the article:

 

 

I do not believe that these numbers can be correct and that only 4% of all college students are freshmen living in dorms. Approx 25% of all students are freshmen (there are more freshmen than other years, but then, there are some students who take longer than 4 years). Does really only 1 in 6 freshmen live in dorms? 

 

 

 

Not more than for any other illness. Don't go around kissing random people. But no, fear of meningitis is not a reason not to kiss your bf/gf. 

 

 

 

I'd be happy to have my kids live off campus for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with meningitis. Alas, their schools require two year dorm residency.

Not all universities have dorms or enough dorms for all students who want/can afford one.  So that will skew the number.  

 

My sons university offered full apartments that were across the street, but not dorms.  

 

DD18s will be going to a local state university. They have 6 campuses across the state. Our campus has 3400+ students enrolling for fall, zero dorms.  Other campuses for the same state school do have dorms, so if you look at the average overall for the entire university, her campus will negatively impacts that dorm living demographic overall. 

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Question: why is it such a big deal now compared to two decades ago? I don't recall getting a meningitis vaccine (and I do remember some others, so I think I'd remember), nor do I recall it being a big deal on campus, and I went to a huge university. Is there a strain that's more contagious now? Or some other factor that's making it more contagious? How is it primarily spread? Most of our dorms were two-person rooms with a communal bathroom in the hallway. Our bathrooms were scoured at least once daily and were very clean. We each had our own dresser and closet so we didn't mix toothbrushes and such.

 

I'm not saying I wouldn't have my kids get the vaccine. That'll be up to them when they're adults. I was just wondering exactly how it's spreading.

 

It's actually not as big a deal as it was earlier TBH.  The vaccine got approved in 1981 (according to google).  According to stats, rates in the mid 80s and 90s dropped by 55%, so it's less common now than before folks were vaccinated.

 

http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20110525/meningitis-rate-is-dropping-in-us#1

 

However, supposedly 4000+ people in the US still get it annually and 500 die (according to the CDC).  Purely averaging it out, that's 10 per state (yes, I'm aware the states have different population numbers, so it's just a very rough average).

 

https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

 

On an education board, it's not terribly surprising that the majority of us don't want to go back to "the good old days when these things didn't happen" ;) and that we'd want to give our offspring the best odds possible against such a deadly and disabling disease.

 

I'm not sure why you didn't know about it in the old days... my cousin (who managed to survive it) isn't much different in age than I am.

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Here is an article from today about meningitis in dorms:

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117295&page=1

 

 

 

For those of you who have non-dorm-residing relatives who have gotten meningitis, do you consider anyone to be at risk in general, and if so, do you get vaccinated?

I was vaccinated when I went to college. I believe some doctors are recommending vaccinating middle and high schoolers now as well. My friend who contracted it was 12. She had recently been to camp. My aunt's cause/exposure was never determined, although the family wondered about a recent amusement park visit.
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A couple of posters here referenced a virus or viral meningitis. The vaccine is only for certain strains of the bacteria that cause bacterial meningitis.

 

FWIW, the stats I gave a few posts ago from the CDC were for bacterial meningitis.  They did not include viral.

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I was vaccinated when I went to college. I believe some doctors are recommending vaccinating middle and high schoolers now as well. My friend who contracted it was 12. She had recently been to camp. My aunt's cause/exposure was never determined, although the family wondered about a recent amusement park visit.

I have a middle schooler. MenACWY is on the CDC schedule for 11-12yos with a booster at 16. MenB is a "may be administered" vaccine starting at 16 unless other risk factors are present. Ds had his first dose already.

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Question: why is it such a big deal now compared to two decades ago? I don't recall getting a meningitis vaccine (and I do remember some others, so I think I'd remember), nor do I recall it being a big deal on campus, and I went to a huge university. Is there a strain that's more contagious now? Or some other factor that's making it more contagious? How is it primarily spread? Most of our dorms were two-person rooms with a communal bathroom in the hallway. Our bathrooms were scoured at least once daily and were very clean. We each had our own dresser and closet so we didn't mix toothbrushes and such.

 

I'm not saying I wouldn't have my kids get the vaccine. That'll be up to them when they're adults. I was just wondering exactly how it's spreading.

 

I remember epidemics 2 and 3 decades back at more than one university near me. People died, it was scary.

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I remember epidemics 2 and 3 decades back at more than one university near me. People died, it was scary.

Yes.

 

I think that when I was in college this was simply something that wasn't covered much in the media. We had 30 people come back from spending a semester in Guatamala with Hepatitis, but apart from the county and state health department knowing about i, I don't think anyone outside the medical community off campus knew that their dorm floor was under quarantine, and food was delivered to the group.

 

I think there are many more health alerts in the news now than there were 30 years ago.

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Meningitis is not something to take lightly.  A few years back we had a doctor's son die of meningitis.  He was just feeling a bit flu-like & went to bed.  He was dead the next morning.  This doctor was an Emergency Room doctor, so well trained & even he missed the symptoms.  The symptoms look like the flu, so many wait too long to get help.  Here we teach children as young as kindergarteners to recognise the symptoms (headache, fever, sore neck, etc.) & they are told never to share food, water bottles, etc.  All 3 of my dc have been vaccinated for it.  Even if they live off campus, the risk is high.  Think of crowded lecture halls.  Many of my freshman year classes had 200+ students.  Those halls aren't wiped down with disinfectant between classes.  You would be at a higher risk to catch something there than in the dorms IMHO.  Also, in the dorms there are people who check on you (room mates, friends down the hall, your RA).  If you live off campus, getting to a doctor is more of a hassle & you usually don't have as strong a support system right there.  

 

IMHO  have her get the vaccination.

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I'm going to schedule my ds17 for the vaccine and I'm wondering if anyone has had any reactions to the shot. My ds had terrible reactions to vaccines when he was little, and I worry that he could react badly to this one as well.

 

 

Ds had no reaction to this vaccine.  He has had reactions to several others. 

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My dd had the vaccine late in May. She will be living at home freshman year but she was going to be away all summer working as a camp counselor.

 

She had no reaction to it. I think it is very important to have the vaccine. 

Edited by samba
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Many universities require it.  I never knew anyone who had the illness 30+ years ago when I was in college.  But, if I can protect my children from such a terrible illness with a simple shot, I'll do it.  One of my dd's best friends died of it in college.  It hit so hard and fast.  Her parents just lived 4 hours away, and they didn't still couldn't make it to the hospital quickly enough to say goodbye. 

 

 

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Question: why is it such a big deal now compared to two decades ago? I don't recall getting a meningitis vaccine (and I do remember some others, so I think I'd remember), nor do I recall it being a big deal on campus, and I went to a huge university. Is there a strain that's more contagious now? Or some other factor that's making it more contagious? How is it primarily spread? Most of our dorms were two-person rooms with a communal bathroom in the hallway. Our bathrooms were scoured at least once daily and were very clean. We each had our own dresser and closet so we didn't mix toothbrushes and such.

 

I'm not saying I wouldn't have my kids get the vaccine. That'll be up to them when they're adults. I was just wondering exactly how it's spreading.

 

 

I don't have an answer , but I will say that meningitis was prevalent in our area at least  17 years ago.  Our newborn daughter had a fever and was admitted to the hospital and had a spinal tap to rule out meningitis when spiking a fever.    Ds also had to have the vaccine before attending sleep away camp roughly 15 years ago.  My first exposure to meningitis was in the early 90's when a local college student contracted the disease and had four limbs amputated,   I was in college ( not the same )  at that time so it really had an impact on me.  

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