Hepatitis B/Meningitis Awareness

Florida law now requires that a postsecondary institution shall provide detailed information concerning the risks associated with meningococcal meningitis and hepatitis B and the availability, effectiveness, and known contraindications of any required or recommended vaccine to every student, or to the student’s parent if the student is a minor, who has been accepted for admission. Meningitis is a serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Because bacterial meningitis is a grave illness and can rapidly progress to death, it requires early diagnosis and treatment. This is often difficult because the symptoms closely resemble those of the flu and the highest incidence of meningitis occurs during late winter and early spring (flu season). When not fatal, bacterial meningitis can lead to permanent disabilities such as hearing loss, brain damage, or loss of limbs. Hepatitis B is a serious infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause lifelong infection that leads to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer or liver failure. There is no cure for hepatitis B, but the infection can be prevented by vaccination. In the United States, an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million persons have a chronic hepatitis B infection. Approximately 2,000 to 4,000 people die every year from hepatitis B-related liver disease.

Although there have been no reported cases of meningitis or hepatitis B at our college in recent years, we are taking the proactive step toward informing and protecting our students.