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October 5, 2006

ULM Student Health urges students to get vaccinated

ULM Student Health Services officials recently received more meningococcal vaccine and are urging all first-time freshmen who have not been vaccinated for meningitis to do so soon to ensure good health and compliance with a recently passed law.

Per Acts 251 and 711 of the 2006 Regular Legislative Session and Department of Health and Hospitals, all first-time freshmen attending Louisiana colleges or universities must show proof of having received either the Menamune or Menactra meningococcal vaccine or provide a properly executed waiver at registration.

For over a year, the university has been proactive in educating the ULM community about meningitis. Student Health Services officials have sent mass e-mails to students, faculty and staff reminding them of the risk factors associated with meningitis. ULM officials have also distributed flyers containing information about meningitis in each dormitory room.

Meningitis, which can be spread through viruses, bacteria and fungi, is an infection of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is not highly contagious, but can be spread through sharing food, beverages or cigarettes, and intimate kissing. The disease can be fatal, and bacterial meningococcal meningitis is the most deadly form of the disease. Meningitis typically occurs in late winter, with December, January and February being the peak season for cases.

Health officials warn that the vaccination is not to be confused with treatment for meningitis. It takes approximately two weeks for the vaccination to take effect. Anyone with signs and symptoms of meningitis such as fever and headache accompanied by mood changes and a stiff neck should seek immediate medical attention.

The vaccination is available at Student Health Services. For a list of additional vaccination providers, call Marge Michel, clinic manager of Student Health Services, at 342-1651. Student Health Services is located at 1140 University Ave.

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