Important Information You Need to Know about Bacterial MeningitisMeningococcal Meningitis Vaccination Required
This document is subject to change based on Richland College policies and procedures.
The Texas Education Code, § 51.9192, subchapter Z, established the January 1, 2012 requirement for bacterial meningitis vaccination for Richland College students under the age of 30 to submit evidence of being immunized against meningococcal meningitis. However, beginning January 1, 2014, the age requirement will change to those who are under the age of 22.
The meningitis vaccination requirement applies to:
- All first time credit students
- All new transfer credit students
- All returning students who have experienced a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester
- New and returning continuing education students enrolled in programs that are at least 360 contact hours or greater
- Distance education students who live in Texas (based on actual mailing address. A Post Office box cannot be used as proof of residency)
- Dual Credit, Middle College, Early College, and/or Charter High School students attending classes at Richland College
- Continuing Education students enrolled in a concurrent credit course(s)
You must submit proof of Bacterial Meningitis Immunization Compliance (or booster within the last five years) to your college's Admissions Office before registering for class. The date of the vaccination must be at least 10 days before the first day of class. This allows time for the vaccination to take effect.
The form, along with any other required documents (see Exceptions and Exemptions below) must be faxed, mailed, e-mailed or submitted (in person) to the Admissions Office.
Proof of Immunization is:
- Certification from a physician or clinic that the student has been vaccinated during the 5-year period immediately preceding and prior to registration, or
- An immunization record from a state or local health authority or an official record received from school officials, including a record from another state (must be within 5 years).
Important Note: Students who fail to submit required Meningitis Vaccine documentation will be restricted from registering for classes.
The following conditions exempt a student from being required to submit evidence of receiving the vaccination against bacterial meningitis or evidence of receiving a booster dose:
- Students who are currently 30 years of age or older by the first day of the start of the semester in which you enroll. However, beginning January 1, 2014, the age requirement changes the exemption to the age of 22 or older.
- Distance education students (based on actual mailing address. A 100% Distance Education Affidavit must be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office. A Post Office Box cannot be used as proof of residency).
- Students enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contract hours or in continuing education corporate training.
- Students enrolled in a dual credit course which is taught at a public or private K-12 facility not located at Richland College.
- Students incarcerated in a Texas prison.
A student, or a parent or guardian of a student, is not required to submit evidence of receiving the vaccination against bacterial meningitis if the student, or a parent or guardian of a student, submits to the Admissions/Registrar's Office one of the following:
- An exemption signed by a physician who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States, stating in the physician's opinion, the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student; or
- An exemption signed by the student stating that the student declines the vaccination for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. In addition, a conscientious exemption form from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) must be completed and submitted to the Admissions/Registrar's office.
More information about the causes, symptoms, types, risks, and seriousness as well as ways to prevent meningococcal meningitis are available through the following links:
This information is being provided to all college students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast - so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that cause meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.
|WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?|
There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body.
The more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.
|HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS DIAGNOSED?|
- Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
- Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
|HOW IS THE DISEASE TRANSMITTED?|
- The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.
|HOW DO YOU INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?|
- Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
- Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).
|WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DISEASE?|
- Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
- Permanent brain damage
- Kidney failure
- Learning disability
- Hearing loss, blindness
- Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
|CAN THE DISEASE BE TREATED?|
- Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
- Vaccinations are available and should be considered for:
- Those living in close quarters
- College students 29 years of age and younger
- Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
- Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
- The cost of vaccine varies, so check with your health care provider.
- Vaccination is very safe - most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up to two days.
- Vaccination is available at Dallas County Health Department, phone 214-819-2000. For more information, visit the Dallas County Health Department Web site at http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhservices/hhs_intro.html.
|HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?|
- Contact your own health care provider.
- Contact your Student Health Center at:
- Contact your local or regional Texas Department of State Health Services at 817-264-4551. For more information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Web page at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/.
- Contact the following Web sites: http://www.cdc.gov/; www.acha.org