Information about Meningococcal Disease and Vaccination for Students traveling to USA for higher Studies
Many states in the USA have rules & regulations that mandate each first-year student enrolled in a school of post-secondary education and living, or who may live, in on-campus student housing to receive one (1) dose of meningococcal vaccine.
Meningococcal Disease Facts
- Meningococcal Meningitis, the second most common cause of Bacterial Meningitis in the United States, is a rare but potentially fatal disease with early symptoms that resemble the flu, making diagnosis difficult. It causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can also infect the blood stream
- Common symptoms include: stiff neck, headache, fever, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, confusion, seizures and/or a rash.
- If not treated early, meningitis can lead to severe disabilities, and death. Despite appropriate antibiotic treatment, nearly 10% will die. The disease strikes about 3,000 Americans yearly and claims 300 lives. It is estimated that between 100 and 125 Meningitis cases occur on college campuses alone, and that as many as 15
students will die from the disease annually.
- College freshmen, particularly those living in residence halls, have a modestly increased risk of getting the disease compared with other persons the same age. Crowded living conditions and smoking (active or passive) are additional risk factors that are potentially modifiable.
- Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted by air droplets (coughing or
sneezing) and by direct contact with an infected person (sharing a glass, cigarette, or kissing). Meningococcal infection is not contracted by casual contact, such as being in a classroom. It occurs throughout the year, but usually peaks in late winter and early spring
- The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but treatment must be started early. Even with treatment, some patients may die. Survivors may be left with a severe disability such as the loss of a limb.
- The Meningococcal vaccine protects students against four out of the five serotypes of the bacteria, which account for approximately 65% of cases in college-aged students. The vaccine protection lasts for 3-5 years.
- Use of the Meningococcal vaccine is supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American College Health Association (ACHA).
- The CDC recommends a booster dose of Menactra 5 years after the initial dose for adolescents and young adults.
- The vaccine is available through private providers, travel clinics, health departments, and the Student Health Center at various universities. However, generally speaking all vaccines are far cheaper in India than in the USA. Also, many Universities will not allow admission in to their courses without proof of this vaccination.
For a detailed list of all vaccinations that are needed for Students traveling to USA from India, see here