Bacterial meningitis not a joke

Living in the dorms freshman year is a big part of the college experience, but catching bacterial meningitis is not.

Bacterial meningitis is an infection of fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. In 2004, there were 1,361 cases of this disease reported nationwide.

Meningitis can leave people deaf, brain-damaged or with tissue death that requires the amputation of limbs.

“If I got meningitis I would not know what to do,” Mike Robinson, BGSU sophomore, said.

The state of Ohio has requirements for all college students regarding the vaccine for meningitis.

“The state of Ohio requires all first year students living in resident halls to get the vaccine or sign a paper saying they don’t want it,” said Dr. Glenn Egelman, the director and chief physician at the BGSU Student Health Center.

Karen Gallo-Willard, the head pharmacist at the University of Toledo, strongly urges students to get the vaccine, especially if they are living in dorms.

Because dorm living space is so small, meningitis can easily be spread through coughing, kissing, and other exchanges of throat and respiratory systems.

“Students in general, especially those living in the residence halls are at risk. That’s why [the vaccine] is recommended,” Dr. Egelman said.

Although there are ways to prevent Meningitis, nationwide there has been a shortage of the vaccine needed to fight it.

“I would be thoroughly disappointed in the University if they ran out of [the vaccine],” said Robinson.

Move in time is when students are going to be rushed to get the vaccine if they didn’t already get it from their own doctors.

“We are still getting a large demand; the calls are just rolling in,” Gallo-Willard said.

She said UT stocked up when they were slow so right now they are not short any shots.

BGSU did the same thing, said Dr. Egelman.

“There is no shortage at Bowling Green, we are all stocked up,” Dr. Egelman said.

The pharmacy coordinator for BGSU, Cindy Puffer, requested an exception to the rule that says you can only order 20 shots in one order. She ordered 100 vaccines a few times, he said.

“Last year we had about 150 to 200 vaccines and this year it was about 250 to 300,” Dr. Egelman said, “If you know the trend of student health you can plan ahead. There was a significant demand this year and we were able to meet it.”

The price for the vaccine has gone up because of the new version of it, called Menactra. At UT the cost is $106 and at BGSU it is $102.

“It’s crazy they would price it so high because it’s important to our health and if I can’t afford it, I don’t feel safe,” Robinson said.

Other people feel it might just be worth the price to pay.

“There is always a chance. If your health is worth $100 then it’s the price to pay to feel safe,” Gallo-Willard said.