(Last updated June 2012)
If you have heard of a university member diagnosed with meningitis, please read the following information to help answer questions you may have. Be assured, if bacterial meningitis is diagnosed in any patient, the local health department will immediately investigate and be in touch with close personal contacts that need to receive medication as soon as possible. If a diagnosis of viral menigitis is made, there will be no public health information disseminated due to patient confidentiality issues. Learn more about viral meningitis.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the space around a person’s spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. It is contagious and can be caused by either a virus or bacteria; however, meningococcal meningitis can only be spread through household or close personal contacts. Casual contacts, such as those within a shared restroom or classroom, are not considered to be household contacts.
The College and University Student Vaccination Act of Pennsylvania requires that all students, before moving into university-owned and -operated residence halls or apartments, must receive the vaccination for meningococcal meningitis or sign a document stating that the student has chosen to be exempted from receiving the vaccination for religious or other reasons. All residents are required to sign an on-line document within the housing contract before moving into campus rooms/apartments stating that they are in compliance with the law. This statement of compliance with the College and University Student Vaccination Act will be obtained on line from the Office of Housing and Residence Life. The vaccination required is the A, C, Y, W-135 vaccine. IUP recommends that residents have the vaccination prior to arrival on campus. The meningitis B vaccine is also recommended, and both can be received at the Health Service free of charge. Call 724-357-2550 to schedule an appointment.
If you have had close contact with an infected person within the last ten days and have questions or concerns about whether you should be treated, please contact the university Health Service at 724-357-2550. If you have pressing concerns and the campus Health Service is closed, please contact Indiana Regional Medical Center’s Bork Emergency Center at 724-357-7121 or your family doctor.
Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis often resemble the flu and can include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and confusion. For more information about meningitis, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.
Questions may be directed to the Health Service.