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There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur
anywhere on the body.
The more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory
results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers,
utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.
Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc. increases the risk of
getting bacterial meningitis. Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a residence hall or group
home) also increases risk.
Possible Consequences of the Disease
Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
Permanent brain damage
Hearing loss, blindness
Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
Treatment and Vaccinations
Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives, and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent
disability or death can still occur.
The state requires that all incoming new students under the age of 30 must have the meningitis vaccine within the
last five years and at least 10 days prior to the first day of class. In addition, Hardin-Simmons University requires
every new incoming student under 30 years of age who intends to live on campus to have had the meningitis
vaccine within the last five years prior to the first class day and at least 10 days prior to the first day of moving on
Vaccinations are effective against four of the five most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in
the U.S. (but do not protect against all types of meningitis).
Vaccinations take seven to 10 days to become effective.