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Vaccinations for meningococcal meningitis will be available to Old Dominion University students from 1-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in the North Mall of Webb University Center.

Meningitis, which is caused by both viruses and bacteria, is an inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. The bacterial form can cause the meningococcal variety of the disease, which strikes about 3,000 people nationwide annually and kills up to 15 percent of its victims.

The disease, spread by close contact with others who are infected, affects approximately 150 to 200 college students nationwide each year. About 65 percent of those cases could have been prevented by vaccination, according to the American College Health Association (ACHA).

Students are at greater risk of contracting the disease because they live and work in close proximity to one another in dorms and classrooms, according to VACCESSHealth, the firm performing the vaccinations at Old Dominion.

No meningococcal meningitis cases have been reported at Old Dominion in more than five years, a university health official said. Ten were reported on Virginia campuses last year, according to the state health department.

In addition to the vaccination event, the shots, which can protect students as long as five years, are available at the Old Dominion Student Health Center year-round.

According to the ACHA, the vaccine carries fewer risks than a flu shot.

The cost for the vaccine is $75. Payment may be made by billing the students' home address or credit card or by check or cash. For more information call (877) 482-2237 or visit the Web site of Vaccess Health - the firm providing the shots -- at www.vaccess.com.

This article was posted on: September 28, 2000

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Telephone: 757-683-3114

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