Vaccinations required for students by spring semester

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    The TCU Health Center now requires vaccinations for mumps and measles and is making an effort to alert students of a recent concern of national viral outbreaks.The American College Health Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that students nationwide have two mumps vaccinations if they have not received the vaccination already.

    Due to the recent outbreak of mumps in the Midwest states of Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois, TCU is requiring that students have the vaccination prior to the spring 2007 semester. Marilyn Hallam, assistant to the director of Health Services, said this requirement is simply a precautionary one, and with students returning to TCU from the Midwest, an immunization is the best way to prevent any possible outbreak.

    Laura Quisenberry, a junior fashion merchandising major who has already received her required shots, said she has heard about the health concern.

    “I think it’s a good idea to be safe because some people might catch stuff easier than others,” Quisenberry said. “I care, but it’s not bothering or worrying me.”

    Mumps is a sleeper viral illness that has recently begun another outbreak. Although TCU has yet to have a problem with campus outbreaks, Hallam said the ACHA and CDC have reported that a spread of this viral illness is plausible.

    The Health Center is recommending that students also receive Menactra, the immunization for meningitis, which was approved by the FDA in January 2005.

    According to the Health Center Web site, meningitis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects people between the ages of 15-24 and is common on college campuses. Though rare, it can be fatal and cause permanent disabilities such as hearing loss or brain damage.

    Hallam said meningitis is common on campuses because of the close living areas.

    A May article on medscape.com states that there is a shortage of Menactra in the United States because the vaccination is available to a broader age range. However, the CDC said college students are expected to receive first priority, according to the article.

    In May 2005, an online article from consumeraffairs.com reported that meningitis affects about 3,000 people each year and kills 300 people on average.

    “I wouldn’t say we are at a greater risk, but we will certainly try to make people aware that we have a vaccine,” Hallam said.