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Medical Services - Infectious Diseases

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Menigitis

     Meningitis Vaccine

     Meningits Education Site

     Meningitis Brochure 

     National Center for Infectious Diseases Meningococcal Disease

     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Immunization Program 

What is Meningococcal Disease?
Meningococcal disease is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitis, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in older children and young adults in the United States.  The disease most commonly is expressed as either meningococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or meningococcemia, a serious infection of the blood.

Meningococcal disease strikes about 2,500 Americans each year, leading to death in approximately 10 to 15 percent of cases.  It is estimated that 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occur annually on college campuses and 5 to 15 students die as a result.  The disease can result in permanent brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, limb amputation, kidney failure, or death.

The incidence of meningococcal disease has increased since the early 1990's, including cases at U.S. colleges and universities.

How is the disease transmitted?

  • Meningococcal disease is transmitted through respiratory secretions (e.g., coughing and sneezing) and direct contact with persons infected with the disease.
  • Oral contact with shared items such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or intimate contact such as kissing could put a person at risk for contracting meningococcal disease.
  • People identified as close contacts of a patient are at an increased risk for disease and should receive antibiotics to prevent meningitis.

Many normal healthy people become carriers of these bacteria and usually nothing happens to the person other than developing natural antibodies.  Very rarely, for reasons such as suppressed immunity or concurrent respiratory illness, the bacteria invades the body, causing disease. 

The signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease?
The disease can easily be misdiagnosed as something less serious, because symptoms are similar to the flu.

The most common symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Once the disease has progressed, a rash can appear, usually on the arms or legs

Anyone with similar symptoms should contact a physician immediately.  If untreated, often within hours of the onset of symptoms, the disease can progress rapidly and can lead to shock and death.

Methicillin - Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Skin Infection

  How is it transmitted?

  • MRSA can be spread among people having close physical contact with infected people and not through the air.
  • Indirect contact by touching towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas, or sports equipment.
  • o These items must have been previously contaminated by an infected person with the staph bacteria or MRSA.
  • o Historically, MRSA has been associated with outbreaks in health-care settings but the bacteria is being spread among participants in competitive sports that often have risk factors for infection including cuts, scrapes, open wounds, skin trauma from turf burns, and shaving.

  What are the signs and symptoms?

  • MRSA infections are generally mild, superficial infections of the skin that can be treated successfully with proper skin care and antibiotics.
  • However, "staph" bacteria can cause different kinds of illness, including skin infections, pneumonia, severe life-threatening bloodstream infections, and others. These can be difficult to treat because there are fewer effective antibiotics available for treatment.

  What are Ways to Prevent MRSA Infection?
  Practice good hygiene:

  • 1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • 2. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a proper dressing (e.g., bandage) until healed.
  • 3. Athletes should tell their athletic trainer and coaches of any wounds, which should be covered. If a wound can't be covered, the player should be excluded from the sport until s/he gets appropriate treatment or the wound heals.
  • 4. Avoid contact with other people's wounds or material contaminated from wounds.
  • 5. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_public.html

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