A new online educational resource designed by and for students to help prevent the spread of Meningitis B on college campuses is now available, according to a recent press release. College students are 5+ times more likely to contract Meningitis B than non-college students – making it particularly important for students to be informed about how to help prevent Meningitis B infection.
The new Meningitis B Student Hub was specifically designed for peer health educators and students with simple key messages to help explain the disease, educational materials for download, sample presentations and even inspirational podcasts from other peer health educators across the country. It also includes ideas for activating a Meningitis B education campaign on campus and suggestions for engaging student health centers and college administrators to advocate for better Meningitis B prevention measures on campus. The resource was developed with input from college students with support from the Meningitis B Action Project, an initiative by two mothers who each lost their college-aged daughters to Meningitis B.
“Alicia and I each lost our daughters, Kim and Emily, to Meningitis B, and we don’t want that to happen to anyone else,” said Registered Nurse Patti Wukovits, who is a Co-founder of the Meningitis B Action Project and Executive Director of the Kimberly Coffey Foundation. “We share our personal stories with students, parents, healthcare providers, and many others, but we also recognize that peer-to-peer education is an incredibly powerful tool. That’s why we wanted to create a resource to help students talk to other students about Meningitis B.”
Meningococcal meningitis is the most common type of bacterial meningitis among young adults. It can kill in less than 24 hours or lead to permanent complications like brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, or even limb amputations. It affects all ages but is more common among 16-23-year-olds. Over 50 college campuses have reported cases of meningococcal meningitis since 2013. Meningitis B accounts for 100% of all meningococcal meningitis outbreaks on college campuses in the U.S. since 2011. Two separate vaccines, MenACWY and MenB, are necessary to be fully immunized against meningococcal meningitis, yet few colleges currently require both vaccines. That is one reason why most adolescents and young adults have received the MenACWY vaccine, but few have received the MenB vaccine largely due to lack of awareness of its availability.
“Our goal is to make sure that students have the information they need to help prevent Meningitis B,” said Alicia Stillman, Co-founder of the Meningitis B Action Project and Executive Director of the Emily Stillman Foundation. “You can’t act on what you don’t know. Many campuses are not educating students about Meningitis B and we felt it was critical to close this gap.”
To view the new Meningitis B curriculum, visit meningitisbactionproject.org/forcolleges.
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