POSTED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 12:23pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 11:34pm
EL PASO- A new Texas law requiring all new students under the age of 30 to be immunized against Meningitis means some area students will need to update their vaccine records.
Senate Bill 1107, also known as the Jamie Schanbaum and Nicolis Williams Act, will mean that incoming students at area colleges and universities will be required to provide documentation showing they have been immunized against the disease. The bill was named after two Texas college students who contracted the disease. Williams died as a result.
“We want all students at area colleges and universities to not only comply with the new requirements, but also understand why vaccination is so important,” said Michael Hill, Public Health Director. “Freshmen college students, and those who live in dormitories, are especially susceptible to this disease,” he added.
Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. About 1,000 cases of meningitis are reported annually in the United States, but more than 10 percent of these cases have resulted in the patient’s death. The last reported case in El Paso was in 2009.
All first-time students, transfer students, and returning students who have taken the most recent long semester off from college must receive the vaccination at least 10 days before the first day of the semester they are enrolled in. Students who have gotten the vaccination during a five-year period preceding the start of classes do not need to be re-vaccinated.
To learn more about the requirements or to check on vaccine availability, you can call 771-5733 or one of the DPH Immunization Clinics listed on our website: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/health/immunization.asp