Attention: Meningitis Requirements
The New York State Assembly and Senate passed and the Governor approved meningitis legislation effective August 15, 2003 that amended the public health law relating to immunization against meningococcal meningitis. It requires secondary schools and colleges to provide information to its constituents on meningococcal meningitis and transmission thereof; the benefits, risks, and effectiveness of immunization; and the availability and cost of immunization. The bill also requires each institution to distribute and maintain response forms indicating that the student, parent or guardian has received and reviewed the information and that the student has either been immunized within the preceding ten years or has opted not to obtain immunization against meningococcal meningitis. The bill prohibits students not fulfilling the requirements to remain enrolled at an institution in excess of thirty days.
A response form must be completed indicating that the student, parent or guardian has received and reviewed the information and that the student has either been immunized within the preceding ten years or has opted not to obtain immunization against meningococcal meningitis. This form can be downloaded here. The response form must be completed and returned to Health Services before the student registers for classes. Please note that you may elect to receive the immunization at Syracuse University Health Services. The cost of this vaccine at Health Services is currently $130.00.
Meningococcal meningitis is an air-borne disease, transmitted through droplets of respiratory secretions and from direct contact with persons infected with the disease. Therefore, the disease could spread by a sneeze, cough, kiss, sharing drinks, utensils, cigarettes or any other direct contact. In settings where people from different families and/or geographical areas spend many hours together in close physical contact, germs are spread more easily. Students living in confined areas such as student housing are at an increased risk of contracting the disease.
Meningitis can be hard to detect because of its flu-like symptoms - severe headache, high lever, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Some of the distinct symptoms of meningitis are a stiff neck or back, confusion or agitation and rashes. These symptoms, however, do not necessarily occur and the disease can worsen very quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours, if not treated with antibiotics. There are an estimated 3,000 cases of meningococcal disease reported in the United States each year. The disease is fatal in 10 to 15 percent of the cases. Those who survive meningitis typically face a lifetime of severe complications. While overall meningitis cases are low, they have been rising among young adults - the number of meningitis cases has doubled for persons aged 15 to 24 since 1991.
Vaccination is an easy and effective way for students to help protect themselves against possible infection. The meningitis vaccines protect against the majority of strains of meningococcal disease. The vaccines are safe with infrequent side effects. After vaccination, antibodies develop within 7 to 14 days. The need for, or timing of, a booster dose of meningitis vaccine has not yet been determined. As with any vaccine, vaccination against meningitis does not provide 100% protection against meningitis.
Syracuse University Health Services
111 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse NY 13244-2320
Phone: (315) 443-9005
Fax: (315) 443-9010