Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approved a vaccine for meningococcal disease, or meningitis, yet many of this year’s 20.5 million college students are not vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to contracting the disease.
According to the CDC, meningococcal disease refers to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitides and there are several serogroups, including A, B, C, Y and W-135. The illness they cause are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. They may also cause bloodstream infections. Up to 15% of people who contract it die, usually within 24 hours.
I know about this disease first-hand. I contracted it during my first few weeks of college and I nearly lost my life. I spent two weeks in coma and lost my hearing. I had to put off medical school for a year while I recovered.