In 1998, 15 of 1,000 college students in the United States with meningitis died. This figure reflects the dense community lifestyle of students on campuses, with many opportunities for transmission. Infection is often done through the exchange of saliva, often by kissing or sharing food, drinks or cigarettes. College students who are bent on exploring the freedom they find with dorm life are not typically concerned with protecting themselves from a stranger’s spit.
According to the New York State Department of Health, there are no specific medicines or antibiotics used to treat some forms of meningitis. This means medical professionals may be left wringing their hands while victims move through varying stages of brain damage, hearing loss or learning disability. Though viral meningitis is quite often much less severe, and does respond to some antibiotics, left undiagnosed it can still have serious health consequences.
In an effort to protect students from their own carelessness, Boston University Student Health Services is offering a meningitis treatment that significantly reduces risk of contraction after exposure. The treatment is $70 This may seem a steep price, compared to the vaccines for measles, mumps, tuberculosis and other diseases usually subsidized by medical insurance policies, but $70 is not so much money when compared to the price a victim of meningitis may end up paying willingly or not.