Meningitis is an infection of the tissues that surround and help protect the brain and spinal cord.  It may be caused by viruses or bacteria.

What should I look for?

Meningitis signs and symptoms may appear suddenly and include

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness or confusion
  • Rash

What should I do if I have these symptoms or know of someone who does?

Seek medical help immediately.

  1. Call or come to UHCS
  2. Call your individual medical provider
  3. Go to an emergency room

You may benefit from antibiotic treatment or vaccination.

How is Meningitis Spread?

Meningitis is passed person-to-person by close contact –

  • Kissing, sharing water bottles, cigarettes, eating utensils, bottles, drinking glasses, straws and phones.
  • Being within three to six feet of an infected person who is coughing or sneezing.

Living in close quarters such as a college residence, fraternity, sorority or apartment increases the risk of infection.

Having certain medical illnesses and immune deficiencies may increase the risk of getting and spreading meningitis.

Can I prevent Meningitis?

While no vaccine is 100% effective in every individual, getting vaccinated is an important and required step toward helping to prevent the spread of meningitis.

Massachusetts law requires newly enrolled full-time college students to receive meningococcal vaccine. Call or come to UHCS now to make sure your immunization records are up to date!

There is not a vaccine currently available for viral meningitis, but immediate medical evaluation is necessary in all symptomatic individuals in order to provide appropriate care and support.

Practice careful hygiene – avoid sharing items with others.

Exchange health status with those you may kiss or otherwise share physical intimacy.

Be aware of your surroundings and of those who appear ill or complain of symptoms.

Encourage those who appear ill or complain of symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

Come to UHCS or contact your individual medical clinician immediately if you are concerned about your exposure or someone else’s.