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Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination & Information

Background

During the last Texas legislative session, House Bill 4189 (HB 4189) was passed and signed into law. HB 4189 requires that any incoming new student in Texas who lives on campus must either receive a vaccination against bacterial meningitis (10 days prior to move-in) or meet certain criteria for declining such a vaccination before they can live on campus.

All incoming students who will be living on campus are required to provide verification of vaccination against bacterial meningitis or provide a signed affidavit declining the vaccination.

For more specific information regarding HB 4189, please go to this link: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/billtext/html/HB04189F.htm. You may also contact our office at 972.509.0247 for more information on where to receive your vaccination.

The Vaccination Against Bacterial Meningitis Required for Students Residing in On-Campus Housing Facilities at Institutions of Higher Education

Pursuant to the Jamie Schanbaum Act (HB 4189), these new sections create the procedure by which a first-time student of an institution of higher education in Texas, including a transfer student, residing in on-campus housing, will show evidence of being immunized against bacterial meningitis.

These new sections apply only to first-time students or transfer students enrolling in public or private or independent institutions of higher education on or after January 1, 2010 who plan to live in on-campus dormitories or other on-campus housing facilities.

Evidence of Vaccination:

  • The month, day, and year the vaccination was administered;
  • The signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel; or
  • An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority; or
  • An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state.
  • The student must have received the vaccination at least 10 days prior to the student taking up residence in on-campus housing. This information shall be maintained in accordance with Family Education Rights and Privacy Act Regulations.
  • Exceptions – A student, or a parent or guardian of a student, is not required to submit evidence of receiving the vaccination against bacterial meningitis under the following circumstances if they submit the following to the institution:
    an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, in which it is stated that, in the physician’s opinion, the vaccination required would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student; or an affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccination for bacterial meningitis for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
  • A conscientious exemption form from the Texas Department of State Health Services must be used.
  • Evidence of Vaccination needs to be submitted with the student’s housing application and required deposit.

    Information about Bacterial Meningitis:

    This information is being provided to all new college students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that causes meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.
    TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION CONTACT A LOCAL HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

    • High fever
    • Severe headache
    • Rash or purple patches on skin
    • Vomiting
    • Light sensitivity
    • Stiff neck
    • Confusion and sleepiness
    • Nausea
    • Lethargy
    • Seizures
    • There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. The more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.

      HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS DIAGNOSED?

      Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
      Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
      The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.

      HOW DO YOU INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?

      Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
      Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).

      WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DISEASE?

    • Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
    • Permanent brain damage
    • Kidney failure
    • Learning disability
    • Hearing loss, blindness
    • Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
    • Gangrene
    • Coma
    • Convulsions
    • CAN THE DISEASE BE TREATED?

      • Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
        Vaccinations are available and should be considered for:

      • Those living in close quarters
      • College students 25 years old or younger
      • Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
      • Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
      • The cost of vaccine varies, so check with your health care provider.
      • Vaccination is very safe – most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up to two days.