Schools in Washington are required to provide the parents and guardians of students entering 6th through 12th grades with information on meningococcal disease. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and fluid that surrounds the brain. There are two distinct kinds – viral and bacteria, with each type exhibiting similar symptoms.

Viral tends to be less severe and students can get better without treatment. Bacterial can be very severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, disability and death. Symptoms may develop over one to two days and include: high fever and chills, stiff neck, headache, light sensitivity, vomiting, and sometimes a rash, coma, and seizures. Meningitis is much less contagious than the common cold or influenza. How is the disease spread? It is transmitted person-to-person through respiratory and throat secretions such as kissing or coughing. It may also be spread by sharing beverage containers or cigarettes, for example. For additional information, please visit www.cdc.gov; the Snohomish Health District website at www.snohd.org; or check with your private healthcare provider.

We encourage you to learn more about meningococcal disease and how to prevent it.  More information on meningococcal disease, the vaccine, and other recommended immunizations is available on the following web sites:

Washington State Department of Health Immunization Program
Meningococcal information:
  http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/immunize/vaccine/meningococcal/default.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Meningococcal vaccine information:
 www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-mening.pdf
 
Disease information:
 http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/meningococcal_g.htm
 
Pre-teen immunizations:  www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/preteens-adol.htm
College students & young adults:  www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/college.htm

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center           
Meningococcal questions & answers:
 http://www.chop.edu/vaccine/images/vec_mening_tear.pdf

National Meningitis Association 
www.nmaus.org