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Bacterial Meningitis Information for Students & Parents
Bacterial Meningitis Information for Students and Parents
New Requirement for School Districts to Provide Bacterial Meningitis Information to Students and Parents
In the 86th Legislature, HB 3884 required Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to create procedures for school districts to provide information relating to bacterial meningitis to students and parents. DSHS shall prescribe the form and content of the information. School districts should provide the information below on the district website or provide a link to this page on the district website. For school districts that do not maintain a website, the information should be provided in hard copy to each student.
WHAT IS MENINGITIS?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral meningitis is most common and the least serious. Meningitis caused by bacteria is the most likely form of the disease to cause serious, long-term complications. It is an uncommon disease but requires urgent treatment with antibiotics to prevent permanent damage or death.
Bacterial meningitis can be caused by multiple organisms. Two common types are Streptococcus pneumoniae, with over 80 serogroups that can cause illness, and Neisseria meningitidis, with 5 serogroups that most commonly cause meningitis.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Someone with bacterial meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.
Children (over 1 year old) and adults with meningitis may have a severe headache, high temperature, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, neck stiffness, and drowsiness or confusion. In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots. These can occur anywhere on the body.
The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.
HOW SERIOUS IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?
If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, most people make a complete recovery. If left untreated or treatment is delayed, bacterial meningitis can be fatal, or a person may be left with a permanent disability.
HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS SPREAD?
Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live for long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing; sharing drinking containers, utensils, or cigarettes) or when people cough or sneeze without covering their mouth and nose.
The bacteria do not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the bacteria for days, weeks or even months. The bacteria rarely overcome the body's immune system and cause meningitis or another serious illness.
HOW CAN BACTERIAL MENINGITIS BE PREVENTED?
Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis may be prevented through vaccination. The vaccine which protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV. This vaccine is recommended by the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for children in the first year of life. Neisseria meningitidis is prevented through two types of vaccines. The first is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine which protects against 4 serogroups A, C, W, and Y and is referred to as MCV4. The second is a vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B and is referred to as MenB.
The ACIP recommends MCV4 for children at age 11-12 years, with a booster dose at 16-18 years. In Texas, one dose of MCV4 given at or after age 11 years is required for children in 7th-12th grades. One dose of MCV4 received in the previous five years is required in Texas for those under the age of 22 years and enrolling in college. Teens and young adults (16-23 years of age) may be vaccinated with MenB. This vaccine is not required for school or college enrollment in Texas.
Vaccines to protect against bacterial meningitis are safe and effective. Common side effects include redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops about 1-2 weeks after the vaccines are given and lasts for 5 years to life depending on the vaccine.
Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Wash your hands. Limit the number of persons you kiss. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not having close contact with people who are sick, also helps.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?
Certain groups are at increased risk for bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. These risk factors include HIV infection, travel to places where meningococcal disease is common (such as certain countries in Africa and in Saudi Arabia), and college students living in a dormitory. Other risk factors include having a previous viral infection, living in a crowded household, or having an underlying chronic illness.
Children ages 11-15 years have the second highest rate of death from bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. And children ages 16-23 years also have the second highest rates of disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOU OR A FRIEND MIGHT HAVE BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?
Seek prompt medical attention.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Your school nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all infectious diseases. You may call your family doctor or Texas Local Health Department Regions office to ask about meningococcal vaccine. Additional information may also be found at the web sites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): CDC - Meningitis and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): Immunize/PreteenVaccines or Texas Department of Health and Human Services Meningitis
Seasonal Flu Information
As legislatively-mandated by §97.63 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), the immunization requirements for Texas students have been updated. For more information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Immunization website.
Immunization Requirements 2022-23 for Grades K-12 in English & Spanish
Immunization Requirements 2022-23 for Early Child-Care Programs and Pre-K in English & Spanish
Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule - 2022
Chapter §97.62 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) describes the conditions under which individuals can seek exemptions from Texas immunization requirements. Exclusions from compliance are allowable on an individual basis for medical contraindications, reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, and active duty with the armed forces of the United States.
Written requests for an immunization exemption on the basis of conscience must be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service, commercial carrier, fax, or by hand-delivery. Email or telephone requests are not accepted. Affidavit form requests will be processed and mailed within one week from the receipt of the request. If additional information is needed to process the affidavit, you will be notified. The letter of request must contain the full name of each child for whom a form is requested (first, middle and last), date of birth of each child for whom a form is requested, parent or legal guardian's signature and complete return mailing address, and number of forms needed for each child (not to exceed five forms per child)
Department of State Health Services
Immunization Branch (MC 1946)
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347
Physical Address: (for hand delivery)
Department of State Health Services
Immunization Branch (MC 1946)
1100 W 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
Fax: (512) 776-7544
Online: Via the department's online exemption form available at https://corequest.dshs.texas.gov/
The official Texas Department of State Health Services affidavit form must be notarized and submitted to school district officials within 90 days from the date of notarization. Bastrop ISD will accept only official affidavit forms developed and issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Immunization Branch. No other forms or reproductions will be allowed.
Exemption from Immunization for Reasons of Conscience – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (English)
Exemption from Immunization for Reasons of Conscience – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (Spanish)
Related Websites & Resources
School Health Program
The School Health Program will provide leadership and support to communities in their efforts to meet the health services and health education needs of their children in a school setting.
Texas Education Agency
Providing leadership, guidance, and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students in Texas.
CDC Vaccines & Immunizations
Information about Vaccine-preventable disease
This guide is filled with many resources that a family may need to access during these challenging times: https://www.manorisd.net/Page/237
MISD Community Resource Line
Families may call (512) 278-4095 the Partnerships and Wellness Department to receive direct and/or referral support.
Information and Referral Line
2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. Comprehensive locator and services include food, housing, money, legal, and additional mental and behavioral health services.
2-1-1. Translation available in Spanish
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis support for people thinking about suicide
Spanish Line: 1-888-628-9454
TTY: 1-800-799-4889 (Deaf and hard of hearing)
National Crisis Text Line
Counseling support by text
Text “HOME” to 741741 - English only
The SAFE Alliance
Advocacy and crisis intervention/face-to-face emotional support is available Mon - Fri from 8 a.m. to 4 p. M. Call 512-267-7233 or text 737-888-7233 for more information.