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Local Campuses Respond to Meningitis Outbreak

A mass outbreak of the bacterial disease meningitis has hit several college campuses nationally, with eight cases in the northeast, and four in California. Most colleges require incoming students to be vaccinated against meningitis. However, the current infection is a rare strain, and a vaccine for is has not been approved by the FDA. And that's raising some concern among local college officials.
A mass outbreak of the bacterial disease meningitis has hit several college campuses nationally, with eight cases in the northeast, and four in California.

Most colleges require incoming students to be vaccinated against meningitis.

However, the current infection is a rare strain, and a vaccine for is has not been approved by the FDA.

And that's raising some concern among local college officials.

WFFT investigated to see how our local schools are protecting our kids.

With the meningitis outbreak at Princeton and UC Santa Barbara, it's a rare strain of the disease that they're seeing out there.

The Allen County Department of Health says it's very rare here.

So we stopped by some of our local schools to see what they're doing to keep our kids, and the rest of you, safe.

Allen County Health Commissioner Doctor Deborah McMahan says even though a meningitis vaccine exists, it's still a threat.

"With this particular strain, there is. With this sero type, I should say there is. All kids are vaccinated for meningitis now in school and again before they go to college. We're fortunate that we don't see nearly as many cases as we used to, because boy, it's a very serious disease if you get it,” McMahan says.

She says meningitis causes inflammation in the fluid and tissue in the brain and spinal cord, and could lead to serious complications- even death.

However, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Trois Hart of the University of Saint Francis says they take a proactive approach to student care.

"We monitor our student health very very closely. Out hall monitors and other people watch this and whenever we see a sign of any student who's ill, we send them to Redimed for care immediately, and it's something that we watch very closely, because we know it's important,” Hart says.

Students say that approach puts them at ease.

Even though living in clusters like dorm rooms can put them at risk.

"We do have the RAs that check every Thursday, you know, check the rooms. You know, the people around that I live with are pretty clean. So everyone here is safe, environment is safe around here,” USF student Shannon Swain says.

Health officials say it's very rare for meningitis to even be seen in Fort Wayne, especially the serogroup type b, that's affecting these college campuses.

But it's always good to keep yourself healthy and safe- wash your hands and take all those normal, usual medical precautions.

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