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HS graduates urged to get meningitis vaccinations

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POSTED: May 19, 2017 6:30 p.m.
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Bryan County Health Department registered nurses Stephanie Keen and Laurie Mehlhorn show their “Reasons to Immunize” shirts.

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Bryan County Health Department officials are encouraging soon-to-be high school graduates to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease, which causes meningitis.

Meningococcal disease is not common, but is dangerous. The disease is spread by exchanging saliva or spit during close or lengthy contact, like coughing or kissing, especially if living in the same house or dorm.

There are different kinds of meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be very serious. Viral meningitis is the most common type, and is usually less serious but can still cause illness.

"We encourage parents of students getting ready to graduate — especially those going off to college — to make sure their children have received the meningococcal vaccine and that all vaccinations are up to date," said Coastal Health District Immunization coordinator Paige Lightsey, RN.

When children are 11 or 12, they should receive one dose of the vaccine followed by a booster at age 16. Parents can check with the health department or their healthcare provider to get immunization records for their children or schedule a time to get the meningococcal vaccine.

For more information on meningitis or the meningococcal vaccine, please to cdc.gov/meningitis.

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