Measles and Meningitis

Measles (Rubeola)

Since the measles epidemic in Nebraska in 1989, Nebraska Wesleyan University has taken the following steps to prevent future epidemics by having students show evidence of their immunity to measles (Rubeola).

Submit to the Student Health Services two separate immunization dates (month and year) for measles (Rubeola). This immunization may also be referred to as an “MMR” or “MR” on your health record.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection that can lead to a dangerous swelling of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The disease can be caused by either viruses or bacteria.

Viral Meningitis is the most common form of the disease and is not usually as serious as bacterial meningitis, allowing patients typically to recover with minimal treatment.

Bacterial Meningitis is often referred to as meningococcal meningitis. Because it can be easily spread, meningococcal meningitis can cause outbreaks in a specific area, such as a college campus. Infection can cause serious illness, long-lasting effects on the nervous system or death within 24 to 48 hours.

How is it spread?
Meningitis can strike at any age; however, certain groups have a greater risk for contracting the disease:

  • college students who live in campus residence halls
  • anyone in close contact with a known case
  • direct contact also occurs with shared items such as cigarettes, drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing
  • anyone with an upper respiratory infection with a compromised immune system
  • anyone traveling to endemic areas of the world where meningitis is prevalent

Is there a treatment?
Yes, if test results are positive, antibiotics are normally used as treatment.

Prevention:
The meningococcal vaccine protects against the most common forms of Bacterial Meningitis that cause outbreaks.

Is the Meningitis vaccine safe?
Yes, the Meningitis vaccine is generally safe and effective. However, some reactions (e.g. soreness or redness at the injection site, mild fever) can happen with all vaccines. No vaccine protects 100% of all susceptible individuals. Protection from the Meningitis vaccine diminishes after six years. Vaccines given in early adolescence (age 11 or 12) do not protect students through college.

Vaccination requirements:

For full-time traditional program students entering Fall 2020 or later, Nebraska Wesleyan University requires MMR immunizations and at least one meningococcal vaccination given at or above the age of 16.

Vaccinations against Hepatitis A, B and Meningitis are relatively inexpensive. Check with your family physician, local public health clinics or student health services if you have questions. Also, check your health insurance policy as it may cost the cost of pre-college immunizations.

If you have questions regarding the vaccination requirements, call the Student Life office at (402) 462-2154 or Student Health Services at (402) 465-2375.