In response to last spring's meningococcal meningitis outbreak that affected five people at Princeton University, the school's Student Health Advisory Board rolled out an initiative to raise awareness and prevent meningitis on campus, according to a Times of Trenton report Sept. 20.
The Student Health Advisory Board distributed some 5,000 red cups that have the words "Mine. Not Yours." emblazoned on it, recognizing that the potentially lethal bacterium can be spread from such benign activities as sharing drinking glasses.
In addition, the cups have written on the opposite side markings for the standard alcoholic drink size for liquor, wine and beer, along with the phone number for the university’s department of public safety in an effort to promote safe drinking among the college student population.
Princeton health educator, Kathy Wagner said, “We have been reminding students of ways in which they can help prevent the spread of meningitis, and the best way to stay safe is to not share anything that comes in contact with the mouth, including cups."
The meningitis cases recorded last spring were identified as Neisseria meningitidis group B, a strain of the bacterium that is not covered in the two vaccines in the United States,meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune®), and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® and Menveo®), that protect against Neisseria meningitidis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meningococcus bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit (e.g., living in close quarters, kissing). Although it can be very serious, meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics that prevent severe illness and reduce the spread of infection from person to person.
Quick medical attention is extremely important if meningococcal disease is suspected. Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease.
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