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Meningococcal disease, or Meningitis is a potentially life threatening infection caused by a bacteria. Early symptoms may be nonspecific, as with many infections, but the characteristic symptoms that necessitate prompt medical attention include: sudden onset of high fever combined with a sever headache, neck stiffness, or a smooth, purplish rash that doesn’t change color when pressed. When we are sick we don’t always recognize the severity of symptoms ourselves. If you hear a roommate or friend complain of the characteristic symptoms, suggest they seek prompt medical attention.

Meningococcal disease is caused by 5 serogroups of bacteria: A, B, C, Y and W-135. A vaccine is available to protect against 4 serogroups (A, C, Y, W-135.) The current vaccine does not cover serotype B, the most common subtype causing disease in Oregon. However, it is recommended that students get vaccinated prior to attending Linfield.

The key points to remember with meningitis are:

  • If you have the following symptoms, get checked immediately by a health care practitioner: high fever (101° F or higher) combined with a severe headache, neck stiffness, or a smooth purplish rash.
  • Treatment for meningitis is available. It is necessary to recognize the symptoms and receive prompt medical attention.
  • if you are interested in receiving the vaccine, call Student Health Wellness and Counseling at 503-883-2535.
  • Use of alcohol and other drugs and active and passive smoking may increase your risk