August 19, 2010, 6:18 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The name meningitis is known, but what's not necessarily well-known is what certain strains of it can do.
"You're sick I guess. I don't really know too much about it, probably not feeling to well," college student Allie Dejong said.
"I've heard of it, I couldn't really tell you what it is though," college student Lee Glanzer said.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the tissues covering your brain and spine. One of the most dangerous types is a bacterial strain known as meningococcal meningitis.
"The reason why it's so dangerous is because this inflammation is so close to your brain, and as a result this infection can permanently or can result in death," Dr. Maria Carillo-Marquez said.
The disease spreads easily from one person to the next, similar to the common cold, and because of that college freshmen are one of the most susceptible groups.
"Whenever we have close contact with other people in the household or dormitories, like college freshmen, there is potential for transmission," Dr. Carillo said.
There is a vaccine to protect against meningococcal meningitis and while South Dakota law doesn't require all college students to it it, doctors highly recommend it.
"People are strongly encouraged to provide these protections for their children who are ready to go to college," Dr. Carillo said.
As for what college students think about getting the vaccine;
"It's something I would consider doing," Glanzer said.
And if your student hasn't yet gotten the shot, they still have time.
"It's not to late, it's very important to include as a back to school package, back to school list," Dr. Carillo said.
Augustana College requires its students to get a meningitis vaccine before starting school. University of Sioux Falls doesn't require it, but does recommend it.
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