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Duke Students Line Up to Protect Themselves Against Meningitis

Posted December 6, 1999

— Meningitis is a rare, but sometimes deadly illness. Outbreaks always raise concern -- especially on college campuses.

Because of the tight living quarters in dorms, many health officials recommend college students get vaccinated. AtDuke Universitythey are trying to put students at ease.

An outbreak of bacterial meningitis on several college campuses has raised awareness about the illness that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord tissue.

A 1998Centers for Disease Control and Preventionstudy identified a slight increased risk ofbacterial meningitisamong college freshman living in dorms.

It was enough to have students at Duke lining up to protect themselves.

"I heard the horror stories from men and kids dying from it so I didn't want to take any chances," said student Daniel Fitzpatrick.

"I felt like since it's being offered I might as well take advantage of the opportunity, and go ahead and get it done today," said student Carl James.

Duke officials say hundreds of parents and students began asking about the vaccination earlier this year. It is one of the reasons the university decided to include the shot for the first time at the campus clinic.

"Many doctors in practice, like family physicians, don't have the vaccine available. So even if the student or student's parents wanted to get immunized, they often can't obtain a vaccine," said Dr. William Christmas, director of Student Health Services.

The shot is not mandatory, but doctors say if there is concern, you should get the vaccine.

The CDC warns current vaccines are not 100 percent effective, and do not prevent against all strains of the disease.

If you are interested in vaccinations, there is a clinic Tuesday night at Duke's Bryan Center until 6:30 p.m. The shots cost $55.

Duke's Health Clinic is also giving out shots, anytime.


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