Important Information about Bacterial Meningitis
(Mandated by Texas Senate Bill 1107)
Effective January 1, 2014: Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination is required for all new students under age 22. This includes ALL transfer students and students that have taken either a fall or spring semester off from college.
The state of Texas passed a new law (SB 1107) effective Spring Semester 2014 that will require all new students under age 22 to have a vaccination against bacterial meningitis. All first-time freshmen, transfer students, and students who have taken a leave of absence from school in either a fall or spring semester must have received this vaccination during the five-year period immediately preceding and at least 10 days prior to the first day of the semester enrolled or re-enrolled.
NOTE: This law, as of January 1, 2014, applies to every Texas public, private, and independent college & university.
The Admission and Records office has been designated to receive this student evidence of receipt of the vaccination certificate for verification and reporting to LSCPA. As prescribed by the Law, with this notification Lamar State College-Port Arthur is providing to you now, and with your registration materials the following: written or electronic notice of the right of the student or of a parent or guardian of a student, to claim an exemption from the vaccination requirement, as specified in Section 21.614; and written or electronic notice of the importance of consulting a physician about the need for the immunization against bacterial meningitis to prevent the disease.
This exemption MUST be filed 10 days prior to the first day of the semester enrolled.
The following evidence must be provided as a Lamar State College-Port Arthur/State of Texas admissions requirement:
- Certification from a physician or clinic the date that the student has been vaccinated during the five-year period immediately preceding and at least 10 days prior to the
first day of class.
- An affidavit or a certificate from a physician stating that the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student.
- Exemption form from the Texas Department of State Health Services approving exception for reasons of conscience. The approved form for exemption can be found
Students are strongly encouraged to visit with their primary care physician or area health clinic as soon as possible to receive the appropriate vaccinations. Bacterial Meningitis vaccinations are available through the Port Arthur Health Department, 441 Austin Ave.
Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast - so take utmost caution.
Bacterial Meningitis 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.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- High fever
- Rash or purple patches on skin
- Light sensitivity
- Confusion and sleepiness
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
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.
HOW IS THE DISEASE TRANSMITTED?
- 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) requires amputation
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.
- Vaccination is available in Jefferson and other surrounding Counties from your health care provider.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?
- Contact your own health care provider.
- Contact the Port Arthur Health Department - (409) 983-8800 or regional Texas Department of Health office at (713)-767-3000.
- Contact web sites:
- A copy of this information is located on the Lamar State College-Port Arthur web site at: http://www.lamarpa.edu/
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