Beginning with the start of the 2016-2017 school year, all students in grades 7-12 will be required to be vaccinated against Meningococcal (Meningitis) disease. One dose of the vaccine is required prior to starting 7th grade and a second dose is required prior to the student’s senior year.
“This legislative action was taken to contain Meningitis outbreaks since there has been an increase in cases since the early 1990s,” Jessica Singer, Health Services Supervisor for Vandalia-Butler City Schools, said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone can contract Meningitis but rates of the disease are highest in children younger than one, followed by a second peak in adolescence. Among adolescents and young adults, those 16-23 years old have the highest rates of the disease. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are approximately 1000-2600 cases of Meningitis in the United States each year. One in 10 of those cases result in death.
The initial symptoms of the disease are fever, malaise, stiff neck, headache, nausea, vomiting and an altered mental state. Meningococcal septicemia is very serious and can be fatal.
“It is transmitted from person to person through droplets of infected respiratory secretions. It can be transmitted through couching, kissing, sharing drink containers, etc. It is also common to those who live in the same households and lengthy contact with one another, such as roommates sharing dorm rooms,” Singer said.
You can review the required immunizations that will be in effect this fall at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/~/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/bid/immunizations/schoolsummary.pdf.