A South Dakota health official says parents of pre-teens and college freshmen should make sure their kids are vaccinated for a couple of diseases before heading back to school.
State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says college freshmen living in dorms and unvaccinated students entering high school are at high risk for meningococcal disease. The bacterial infection is an inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord. Up to 14 percent of people with the disease die and up to 19 percent of survivors may suffer permanent disabilities.
Kightlinger says students 11 to 12 years old should get a booster vaccination for whooping cough because that's when immunity from earlier vaccinations begins to wane. Whooping cough causes uncontrollable coughing, rib fractures, pneumonia, loss of consciousness and even death.