Meningococcal disease signs and symptoms, which are sometimes mistaken for those of flu early in the course of illness, can include:
• High fever
• Severe headache
• Body aches/joint pain
• Increased sensitivity to light
Anyone with the signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek medical care immediately. Early treatment of meningococcal disease is critical as the infection can quickly become life-threatening. UCSB students and staff are urged to pay particular attention to this advice in light of the recent cases.
College-aged persons, especially first-year students living in residence halls, are at increased risk of meningococcal disease. Although the first recent case was caused by a strain of the bacteria that is not prevented by either of the available meningococcal vaccines, it is important for students to be up to date with meningococcal vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® or Menveo ®) for all adolescents at ages 11-12 and 16 years. First-year students living in residence halls are recommended to receive at least one dose of vaccine prior to college entry. If only one dose of vaccine was given before age 16 years, an additional dose should be given before college enrollment. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/
Covering coughs, keeping hands clean, and being up to date with recommended vaccines, especially flu vaccine this time of year, are actions everyone can take to stay healthy, protect themselves from illness, and prevent the spread of infections to others. Persons with questions or concerns about meningococcal disease are urged to contact UCSB Student Health or their primary healthcare care provider.