Other colleges respond to meningitis outbreak

  • George Corey, director of university health services at UMass Amherst, speaks Nov. 14, 2017, at a press conference on campus regarding two students recently diagnosed with meningitis.

For the Gazette
Published: 11/28/2017 11:59:02 PM

AMHERST — Hampshire College sent out a school-wide email on Tuesday recommending some of its students get the meningitis B vaccine.

Included are those who take classes at the University of Massachusetts, those with certain conditions, and students who spend “a substantial amount of time at UMass and would like to be vaccinated.”

Hampshire Health Services will be vaccinating students for meningitis B from Wednesday to Friday. Students should call ahead to schedule an appointment.

There are so far no cases of meningitis B in Hampshire College students, or in any students of the other schools in the Five College Consortium — Smith, Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges. However, students from any of the Five Colleges can, and often do, take classes at UMass.

UMass has been vaccinating students against meningitis B at its own University Health Services, including students who do not go to UMass but take classes there.

In addition, Smith College provided the meningitis B vaccine at its Schacht Center for Health and Wellness on Monday. If there is still a demand for the vaccine among Smith College students, the school will schedule more opportunities to do so, according to the Schacht Center’s news alerts.

Amherst College, which alerted students to the UMass cases on Nov. 16, will send out a message Wednesday recommending that students who take classes at UMass get vaccinated at its Keefe Health Center, according to Amherst College spokeswoman Sandy Genelius.

According to Mount Holyoke College spokeswoman Keely Savoie, the school will be emailing all 206 students at Mount Holyoke College currently enrolled in classes at UMass with information and recommendations. Mount Holyoke College will hold a walk-in clinic Friday for students with an increased risk.

Meningitis is spread through saliva. UMass and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have suggested that students be diligent in washing their hands, not sharing drinks, food, kisses or cigarettes and getting vaccinated against meningitis B, a vaccine different than the meningitis vaccine required of college entrants.

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