Meningitis FAQ for Faculty and Staff

Updated February 6, 2015

Q: I teach/work with/interact with students and am afraid that I will contract meningococcal disease. Can I get the vaccine?

A: The CDC recommends that vaccines be given to all undergraduate students, graduate students living in dormitories or residence halls and members of the College community without a spleen or who are immunocompromised.  These groups are recommended to receive the vaccine because young adults and people with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, especially those who live in close quarters, such as dormitories.

The FDA has approved two meningitis B vaccines. Both are licensed for individuals between 10 and 25 years old.

Q: What is functional and anatomic asplenia?  What is late complement component deficiency?

A: Anatomic and functional asplenia are conditions in which a person does not have a spleen or does not have a fully functioning spleen due to ailments like sickle cell disease.  Late complement component deficiency is a specific type of immune deficiency, sometimes referred to as complement pathway disorder.

None of these medical conditions are common. The CDC estimated that based on our population size, less than five faculty members, staff or graduate students may have one of these conditions.

Q: I am a staff/faculty member who is not eligible to receive the vaccine, but am still worried about getting meningitis. What should I do?

A: The best way to prevent the spread of meningitis is through personal behavior and increased hygienic practices. College community members should: cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands frequently; and avoid sharing items that come in contact with your mouth, such as utensils, cups, water bottles and smoking materials.

For more information about meningococcal vaccination, including serogroup B meningococcal vaccines, see information from CDC (