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Meningitis B Update: 

Adolescents and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease, often referred to as meningitis, a serious bacterial infection that can lead to lifelong complications and even death. However most of these cases are vaccine preventable. There are two kinds of vaccines available that may help protect against meningococcal disease.  The disease is caused by several different types of (serogroups) bacteria.

The routinely recommended quadravalent meningitis vaccine protects against 4 major serogroups (A,C,W and Y) and it is recommended for all individuals at age 11 to 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16 years.

However the routine vaccine does not protect against one of the most common causes of the disease, Serogroup B.  Serogoup B continues to cause outbreaks on college campuses. Vaccines against serogroup B only became available in the US in 2014. This vaccine has been added to the recommended list of vaccines for Gettysburg College students.

We encourage all students to learn more about meningococcal disease and the vaccines available to prevent it. 

For more information go to www.nfid.org/meningococcal or

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/index.html for further information on vaccines.

 

 ZIKA VIRUS - FEBRUARY 2016

You may be aware that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Monday, Feb.1st that the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects is an international public health emergency.

 The Zika virus infection is transmitted primarily by mosquito bites; transmission through sexual contact has also been documented.  It is estimated that 80% of those infected with this virus are without symptoms.  The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Symptomatic disease includes fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).  Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There is currently no vaccine or other preventative medication for the Zika virus.  

The virus has been linked to microcephaly, a serious birth defect that causes babies to be born with brain damage and unusually small heads. 

Important public health information about the Zika virus:

  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Travel Alert, Level 2Practice Enhanced Precautions, to regions with Zika virus outbreaks. These areas include parts of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and Cape Verde. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

 

  • For the average traveler, like students who are studying abroad or planning abroad travel to high-risk Zika-infested areas, the risk seems to be similar to other vector borne disease in the regions, such as, dengue or chikungunya virus.   The best advice for students, faculty and staff who plan travel to these regions is to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html

 

  • Pregnant travelers to areas with Zika virus transmission should postpone their travel if at all possible.  If you must travel to one of these areas, consult your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.  Women who are trying to get pregnant should consult their healthcare provider about their plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus. Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak

We will continue to monitor this evolving health alert and provide any relevant updates.  The full CDC warning can be found here: www.cdc.gov/zika.  If students have questions or concerns, they should contact Health Services on campus for more information. 

 

U.S. MEASLES OUTBREAK - FEBRUARY 2015

Gettysburg College Health Service is monitoring the recent ongoing multi-state outbreak of measles.  Between January 1st and January 30th of 2015, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles. Of these cases, 92% are part of a large outbreak linked to the Disneyland amusement park in California. The majority of these people who acquired measles were unvaccinated.  Pennsylvania has one isolated case of measles this year not related to the outbreak that started in California.  This case does not pose a threat to our campus community. 

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness. It begins with a prodrome of fever, cough, coryza (runny nose), conjunctivitis (pink eye), and lasts 2-4 days prior to rash onset. Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing; infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains viable for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air. (CDC)

Gettysburg College Health Service requires all students to be immunized, with few exemptions, against vaccine preventable diseases in accordance to immunization guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College Health Association (ACHA).  If you have questions about your current immunization status, contact your healthcare provider or consult the College Health Service for guidance in updating your immunizations. 

Related links:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/default.htm