Department of health releases 2016-17 school immunization requirements

Staff report

SIDNEY — The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has released the school immunization requirements for the 2016-17 school year.

The new requirement begins with the very start of the school year. All students entering seventh and 12th grade are required to be vaccinated against meningococcal (serogroup A, C, W, and Y) disease. One dose of meningococcal (serogroup A, C, W, and Y) vaccine is required prior to the seventh grade.

A second dose of meningococcal (serogroup A, C, W, and Y) vaccine must be administered on or after the 16th birthday with at least eight weeks between the first and second dose. If the first dose of meningococcal (serogroup A, C, W, and Y) vaccine was administered after the 16th birthday, a second dose is not required. If a student is 15-years of age or younger, only one dose is required until entry in the 12th grade.

Meningitis disease is an infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain sometimes referred to as “spinal meningitis”. Meningitis is either a viral or bacterial infection. Depending on the type of infection, the severity of the illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and can result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability or death.

High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms –these symptoms may occur over several hours, or may take one to two days. It is important that treatment is started early in the course of the disease. Appropriate antibiotic treatment of most common types reduces the risk of dying from meningitis to less than 15 percent. Some forms of Bacterial Meningitis disease are contagious by the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (i.e. coughing, kissing, sharing water bottles, or lip balm).

The meningitis vaccine is an important preventative action. The Sidney-Shelby County Health Department has meningitis vaccine available for this requirement for the insured, uninsured or Medicaid resident. Appointments can be made by calling 937-498-7249.

Staff report