Meningitis is serious

Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that causes infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Most people recover from meningitis, however, serious complications, including death, can occur in as little as a few hours if left untreated. It is treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stiff neck, fever

Some of the most common symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include fever, severe headache or stiff neck, extreme fatigue, light sensitivity and/or confusion.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or Wardenburg Health Center at 303-492-5101 right way.

The disease spreads via saliva

Meningococcal disease may be spread to others; however, this is uncommon. It is spread through close contact with an infected person. 

Close contact includes any direct salival contact including:

  • sharing e-cigarettes (e.g. JUULs) or other smoking devices,
  • kissing,
  • sharing drinks, glasses or eating utensils or
  • being exposed to secretions from the nose or throat of the infected person.

A person may be infected for one to 10 days, and most commonly three to four days, before showing any symptoms.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against this severe disease. Anyone who has never been vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis or has not been vaccinated in the past five years, should consider getting the vaccination. Those at greatest risk are students living in residence halls, so these individuals should consider vaccination from their primary healthcare provider. However, if you have been determined to be a close contact of a person with meningococcal disease, you still need to get medications even if you have been adequately vaccinated.

Vaccination recommendations

The CDC recommends two vaccinations:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccines such as Menactra or Menveo
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines such as Bexsero or Trumenba
  • In addition to meningococcal conjugate vaccine, certain preteens and teens should get a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if they have a rare “complement component deficiency” disorder; are taking the medicine Soliris; or have a damaged spleen or have had their spleen removed.

It is recommended that students speak with their primary care provider about the vaccination(s) that are most appropriate for them.

Vaccination locations

Students should seek vaccines from their primary care provider when possible, but the following local resources are also available to them:

  • Wardenburg Health Center on campus, where the Menveo (ACWY) and Bexsero (B) vaccines are available by appointment through the Medical Clinic, and Bexsero and Trumenba are available in the pharmacy.

Local pharmacies and medical offices:

For more information on meningococcal meningitis and the vaccination, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at