Meningococcal immunization is mandated by state law for new and transfer students under 22 years of age who are on campus. Student must be vaccinated against meningococcal no later than ten days before the semester begins. Proof of immunization may be faxed to (432) 837-8411. Ensure vaccine administration date is LEGIBLE. Facsimiles should be clear and easily readable with provider’s information or stamp.

The governor of Texas signed The Jamie Schanbaum Act, H.B. No. 4189, in June, 2009. (Sec. 51.9192 of the Education Code was added and requires meningococcal vaccination for all new and transfer students.

The following information is provided by the American College Health Association with minor changes and added specifics for Sul Ross State University students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but potentially fatal, bacterial infection, and most commonly leads to meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or meningococcal septicemia, an infection of the blood.

Crowded living situations, bar patronage, active or passive smoking, irregular sleep patterns, and sharing of personal items increases a college student ‘s chances of acquiring the meningococcal disease.

In addition, persons with immature or damaged immune systems and persons with respiratory tract infections are at increased risk of getting the disease. Certain genetic factors also increase the risk of infection.

Approximately 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occur on college campuses each year, and five to 15 students will die as a result.

Meningococcal disease is spread person-to-person through the air by respiratory droplets (e.g., coughing, sneezing). The bacteria also can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, such as oral contact with shared items like cigarettes or drinking glasses, and through kissing.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease often resemble those of the flu or other minor febrile illnesses making it sometimes difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash or purple patches on skin, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, confusion, sleepiness, sensitivity to light and/or seizure activity.

Students who notice these symptoms in themselves, friends or others should contact their college health service or hospital immediately.

If not treated early, meningococcal disease can lead to death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead) or permanent disabilities. One in five of those who survive will suffer long-term side effects such as coma, brain damage, hearing loss, blindness, seizures, kidney damage or limb amputation.

Texas statute requires vaccination for new and transfer students under 22 years old

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommend vaccination for anyone 29 years old or younger, plus students with medical conditions that compromise immunity (e.g., HIV, absent spleen, antibody deficiency, chemotherapy, immuno-suppressants)

The meningococcal vaccine provides protection against four of the five types of N. meningitidis bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in the United States, types A, C, Y and W-135. In persons 15 to 24 years of age, 70 to 80 percent of cases are caused by potentially vaccine-preventable strains. The vaccine is safe and effective, and adverse reactions are mild and infrequent.

Check with your hometown Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or private medical provider. Alpine’s region 10 DSHS office is located at 205 North Cockrell Street, near the main campus. For additional information, call (432) 837-3877.

The cost depends on where the vaccination is obtained.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web sites to learn more about meningococcal disease. You may also contact student health services at (432) 837-8102, e-mail

For additional information, visit the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

This information is provided to new students as required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Education Code section 51.9191.