University Health and Counseling Services
Ambrose Center

Health Services

Notice of Risk Associated with Meningitis and Hepatitis B

Wisconsin Act 61 of 2003 requires that annually, each student residing in a college or university residence hall 1) be informed of the risks of meningococcal disease and hepatitis B, 2) be required to report whether they have been immunized against either disease and 3) when not immunized against one or both illnesses, be required to sign a waiver of vaccination indicating they know the risks, and choose not to be vaccinated.


is the inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with an infected person’s oral or nasal secretions (ie. sharing cups, eating utensils, smoking materials, lip balm), but it is not spread as easily as a cold due to the bacteria’s inability to live very long outside of a body.

Bacterial Meningitis

  • Rare, often comes on suddenly, and can progress rapidly
  • There are 5 primary types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease and for which vaccines are available: A, C, W, Y, and B.
  • 2 separate vaccines can protect one against bacterial meningococcal disease:
    • MenACWY - Most students are immunized against serogroups ACYW between the ages of 11-16 by vaccinations recommended by the CDC (recommended at 11-12yo with booster at age 16)
    • MenB - Few students are vaccinated against serogroup B as this has only recently become available and is not routinely recommended; (preferred age for vaccine is 16-18yo but can receive up to age 25); CDC does recommend for college students living with and going to classes in close proximity with others.

Viral Meningitis

  • Spreads similarly to bacterial meningitis, and can lead to similar symptoms, including fever, stiff neck, headache and vomiting
  • The most common forms of the virus are not preventable with vaccine
  • The virus is usually less severe than bacterial meningitis, with symptoms lasting around 7-10 days
  • This form of meningitis is more common during summer and fall months
  • Most patients fully recover over time

Symptoms of Meningitis

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light)
  • Altered mental state (confusion)

 How to limit your risk

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Using the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of used tissue
  • Hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Not sharing eating utensils or drinking cups, smoking materials, lip balm, etc


  • How can I find out if I’ve gotten the immunization when I was 10-16 years old?
    • Check with your pediatrician; ask specifically about the 2 different kinds of Meningococcal vaccines.
    • Go online to your state immunization registry (in Wisconsin it is – your physician would have had to enter that they gave it to you
  • What if I need either of the Meningococcal vaccines? Does UHCS carry them?
    • UHCS does not take insurance and the cost for the vaccine would be almost $200/shot; UHCS does NOT carry MenACWY or the MenB vaccine. Most insurances will pay for it – check with them and your physician or pharmacy.
  • What if there would be an exposure on campus of bacterial meningitis?
    • It is important for UHCS to have your immunization history so that we know who is immune and who is not in case there is an outbreak on campus. This is why it is asked at registration.
    • If there was an outbreak, UHCS would work closely with the Department of Health to take action to keep students and staff safe.

For more information visit: Meningococcal Disease and College Students or Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine Recomendations

Hepatitis B

Is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.

 Types: For some people, hepatitis B is a short-term illness, but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection.

  1. Acute hepatitis B: short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis B virus. An acute infection can range in severity from a mild illness with few or no symptoms to a serious condition requiring hospitalization. Some people, especially adults, are able to clear the virus without treatment. People who clear the virus become immune and cannot get infected with the hepatitis B virus again. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection.
  2. Chronic hepatitis B: is a lifelong infection with the hepatitis B virus. Over time, chronic hepatitis B can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver cancer, and even death. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults.


Acute Hepatitis:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark colored urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint Pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or the eyes)

Chronic Hepatitis:

  • Most do not have symptoms or feel ill. When and if symptoms do appear, they are similar to the symptoms of acute infection, but can be a sign of advanced liver disease.

 How to limit your risk:

  • GET VACCINATED. The best way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
  • Not sharing certain items with an infected person that can break the skin or mucous members ( e.g., razors, toothbrushes and glucose monitoring equipment), potentially resulting in exposure to blood.
  • Avoid unprotected intercourse.


How can I find out if I’ve gotten the immunization?

  • Check with your pediatrician or primary care provider.
  • Go online to your state immunization registry (in Wisconsin it is – your physician would have had to enter that it was given.
  • What if I need Hepatitis B vaccine? Does UHCS carry it?
    • UHCS does carry the Hepatitis B vaccine.  It is a series of 3 injections: the first two are given one month apart.  The third injection is given four months later.  It is important to receive all 3 injections for full immunity.  If you have had one or two injections in the past, you do not have to restart the series, just complete it.
    • We do not take insurance. Costs for immunizations can be found on at We can also provide you with a receipt that you can send to your insurance for reimbursement.



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