Colleges staying alert amid UMass meningitis cases - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Colleges staying alert amid UMass meningitis cases

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

More institutions in Amherst are offering vaccines aimed at fighting a rare strain of meningitis.

It all comes following two recent cases at UMass Amherst.

The particular strain of meningitis that hit two students is indeed rare, but these campuses are not taking any chances. 

"Both surprising and scary at the same time," said Emma Brigham.

Now, concerns over campus health have other colleges taking pause.

While there are no known threats, both Hampshire College, as well as Amherst College, are offering vaccines.

"I think it's a good thing that we're offering the services.  It's better to offer it and not need it," said Derek Benson with Amherst College.

All three institutions are working to educate students and staff.

This vaccine should not be confused with a shot used to combat the more common strains of meningitis.

"I actually just realized what meningitis actually was," Brigham added.

UMass Health Services expect to have more than 1,300 students vaccinated by Friday evening.

Many students are on their way home for the Thanksgiving holiday and may seek out a vaccine from their primary care physicians.

"Some of my friends have gotten it.  They say it's really easy, really accessible," said Emma Jones.

UMass administrators worked to squash any rumors about a third case.  The university told Western Mass News that this is baseless and if there were any cases, students would be properly notified.

"That's anywhere I feel like.  Anything could happen anywhere, but we're taking the right precautions, so I feel safe," Jones added.

UMass will be continuing to offer vaccinations on Monday and Tuesday, as well as after Thanksgiving break. 

For more information on how you can prevent the spread of meningitis, you can CLICK HERE.

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