August 19, 2004 | First day of classes KU Radio News Line

Audio





Contact: Frank Barthell, University Relations, (785) 864-8869.

Radio News Line text:
KU students in living groups urged to receive meningitis vaccine

THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGING ALL K-U STUDENTS WHO LIVE IN ANY FORM OF GROUP HOUSING TO RECEIVE THE MENINGITIS VACCINE.

THE VACCINE, WHICH COSTS $73, WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE WATKINS STUDENT HEALTH CENTER STARTING THIS THURSDAY, AUGUST 19TH. A SAFE VACCINE IS AVAILABLE WHICH COVERS ABOUT 70% OF ALL CASES OF MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE IN COLLEGE STUDENTS.

MYRA STROTHER IS CHIEF OF STAFF AT WATKINS STUDENT HEALTH CENTER.

STROTHER: "The University of Kansas is highly recommending all students in group housing receive the vaccine. Any student in college living in group housing has a six fold increase risk of getting meningitis." (14 sec.)

MENINGITIS IS A SEVERE INFECTION OF THE BLOODSTREAM AND LINING OF THE BRAIN AND SPINAL CORD. IT USUALLY OCCURS AS A SINGLE ISOLATED EVENT, BUT CLUSTERS OF CASES ARE POSSIBLE.

FRESHMAN IN GROUP HOUSING ARE MORE LIKELY TO CONTRACT THE DISEASE THAN THE GENERAL STUDENT POPULATION. A JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION STUDY IN 2001 FOUND THAT FRESHMEN LIVING IN RESIDENCE HALLS COMPRISED ONLY 4 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL COLLEGE POPULATION BUT WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR 31 PERCENT OF ALL MENINGITIS CASES IN COLLEGE STUDENTS.

STROTHER SAYS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS STRIKES ABOUT 3-THOUSAND AMERICANS A YEAR AND KILLS THREE HUNDRED.

STROTHER: "We know that of that group 100 to 125 of those cases are on college campuses very year, and 5 to 15 of those college students who get bacterial meningitis die every year from this illness." (13 sec.)

STROTHER SAYS THE SYMPTOMS OF MENINGITIS ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF INFLUENZA.

STROTHER: "So it's muscle aches, fever, stiffness of neck, headache, and a rash. So what we want any student to know is if they ever have a fever and a rash or a stiff neck or a headache that beats any headache they've ever had, they need to see a physician." (17 sec.)

INCOMING K-U FRESHMAN HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE DURING THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS AND SUMMER ORIENTATION SESSIONS AS WELL AS IN EVERY STUDENT HOUSING CONTRACT. DURING THIS SUMMER'S ON CAMPUS FRESHMAN ORIENTATION SESSIONS, THE UNIVERSITY OFFERED ON-SITE VACCINATIONS. MORE THAN 500 STUDENTS RECEIVED THE VACCINE.

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