State mandates meningitis paperwork
Buried under the mountain of Syracuse University mailings gathering dust on students’ floors may be two vital pieces of paper that could decide if students can register for classes in the spring.
The meningitis information response form and its accompanying literature requests that students declare either the date they received the meningitis vaccination or that they voluntarily refused it.
The forms, which are to be handed in at the Health Services office, are due Oct. 1. If students do not turn in the response form, a hold will be put on their registration for next semester, meaning that they will not be able to register for classes.
Meningitis, formally called meningococcal meningitis, is an airborne disease spread through respiratory secretions and direct contact with an infected person. Unfortunately, the symptoms of meningitis are difficult to detect.
Meningitis is particularly a threat on college campuses because of the confined living quarters.
‘It presents so many other things and can progress so rapidly,’ said Kathleen Vanvechten, director of nursing at University Health Services, ‘For the person who has it, it can be very serious. You want to have immediate intervention.’
‘It didn’t hurt, and I feel safer,’ said sophomore John Cheifet, a broadcast journalism major. Cheifet already received the vaccination while in high school, and said he would encourage other students to get the shot.
While the vaccination is not 100 percent effective, it does greatly reduce the risk of contracting meningitis.
The disease can be fatal, and in the event the disease is found on campus, the student would have to immediately go to the emergency room.
As of Sept. 10, 65 percent of students had turned in the form, and 82 percent of them had received the vaccination, said Suzanne Hubbell, associate director of Health Services. As part of a new legislation passed by the New York government, college students and campers at some sleep-away camps are required to fill out the response form.
The new legislation was backed by New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Sen. Mike Nozzolio. Nozzolio lost his nephew and godson, Michael Nozzolio, to meningitis nine years ago.
In his press release, Nozzolio stressed the importance of the legislation to college students. In particular, he cites a study which places students in the 15- to 24-year-old range as the most susceptible demographic.
For students who still have not turned in their forms, the forms can be downloaded from the Health Services office. For those who wish to receive the vaccination, it is available at the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The vaccination costs $80 and can be charged to the bursar account.
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