Why is Meningitis B a hot topic in university wellness?

Heydi Ortiz, Police Reporter

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Flus and viruses are among the most known diseases on university campuses as students don’t always take preventative measures like flu shots.

But as flu season continues on, so does arising fear of contracting something like Meningitis B. According to a recent study noted by Pediatrics and conducted by the CDC, college students, ages 18-24 are at an increased risk of contracting Meningococcal disease serogroup B.

According to the Director of Health Administration, Doreen A. Perez, Meningitis B is both bacterial and viral and can be shared through sneezing, touching and sharing drinks.

Luckily, UNF takes preventative measures that requires incoming freshmen to have been vaccinated against diseases like Measles, Mumps and Rubella  before attending the university and are now requiring the majority of incoming freshmen to have been vaccinated against Meningitis B. Due to this increase in immunizations, the number of universities experiencing outbreaks has decreased.

Still, according to National Meningitis Association, from March 2013 to November 2017, 20 outbreaks of Serogroup B Meningococcal disease have occurred on college campuses.

“You can lose a person from Meningitis in the matter of 24 hours if they’re not treated with high doses of antibiotics. If you have 3 cases within three months, you have an outbreak,” said Perez.

Although, vaccines are available to the public in a number of different ways, many refuse vaccinations due to religious and ethical reasons furthering the risk of catching a deadly disease.

“As a healthy person that can get a vaccine, please take the vaccine because then we are creating what we call Herd Immunity,” Perez explained. “So that the majority of the herd is healthy and the few little stragglers that can’t have the vaccines are protected.”

Perez says that people who can’t get a vaccinated should try to isolate themselves when illnesses approach, which can be hard in a university setting.

“Then the best case we start to try promoting is handwashing and sneezing inside your elbow as well as wearing masks and sanitizing your hands.”

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