Essay, 2 pages (500 words)

Bacterial meningitis

Meningococcal disease Screening Program for Creig College Increasing number of college students, especially freshman residing in dormitories are infected by the meningococcal disease. In order to create better awareness about the disease among students, the college is conducting a screening program that will provide educational information (brochure) about meningitis to students and queries related to the symptoms and nature of the disease will be clarified.
Follow-up after the screening program
Students who attend the screening program will be referred to a local hospital for further screening and testing procedures.
For further information about the disease contact the Creig College Health Services or log on to http://www. cdc. gov or http://www. acha. org/
The disease affects nearly 1400 to 3000 Americans and is associated with a mortality rate of 150-300 deaths.
The rate of disease occurrence among college students is 100-125 out of which 5-15 die each year.
Studies conducted after 1990 have shown that increased prevalence of the disease was noted among college students living in dormitories and common hall facilities.
The disease, causes and transmission
The leading causative organism Neisseria meningitidis mainly affects the brain and spinal cord via the blood causing inflammation that could cause brain damage, paralysis or death in severe cases.
This organism can spread from person-to-person through air (coughing and sneezing) or through direct contact with the infected person.
After infection, the organism attaches to the mucosal lining of the nose and throat where they multiply and later penetrate the lining to enter in to the blood stream. The organism then moves to the brain and to various other organs.
The initial symptoms of the disease, which may appear suddenly, are similar to those of flu and include high fever, headache, stiff neck and nausea.
Students who present with 2 or more of these symptoms at a given time should seek immediate medical attention.
When left untreated the disease can cause long-term disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss and seizures.
Vulnerable communities
While infants are most widely affected, reports over the past decade show an increasing number of college students being affected by the disease.
As the disease spreads through air or personal contact the disease can be easily transmitted in crowded living conditions.
Hence college freshman living in dorms have been found to be at increased risk of contracting the disease than those living in other types of accommodation.
A safe and effective quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine is available against the major serogroups A, C, Y and W—135 that affects nearly two-thirds of the population.
This vaccine serves to decrease the risk of infection by these serogroups and as it does not provide any protection against the serogroup B, it does not completely eliminate the risk of infection.
Immunity against the disease, which develops within 10 days of administering the vaccine, remains effective for 3-5 years after which revaccination may be considered.
However, the American College Health Association, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, has recommended that students and their parents should be educated about the meningococcal disease and students, especially those residing in dormitories, should consider vaccination as a safe means of protection against the disease.

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