Lehigh Valley

Lehigh University now requires new students to be vaccinated against meningitis B

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh University says they are now one of almost 30 universities across the country that now requires all new students to be vaccinated against menigitis B. They say the measure will help ensure the best health of their students.

"There's no price you can put on a potential life loss due to a fully preventable disease," said Dr. Mark Knouse, the Chief of Infectious Disease at LVHN.

Knouse says college-age students are prime candidates to contract menigitis B.

"They probably lack immunity, number 1. Number 2, they are in crowded conditions, this is a disease you find in close human contact which you find in college populations," Dr. Knouse said.

Meningitis is spread through human contact, like those found in cramped living conditions, or when sharing drinks, utensils, or kissing.

It can be deadly. According to the CDC, 10 to 15 people out of 100 infected will die, and up to one in five survivors will have long-term disabilities such as loss of limbs, deafness, or brain damage.

All of which are preventable with the vaccine.

Lehigh University officials are hoping parents understand why they are taking this measure.  

While vaccines have become a controversial topic, all the students we spoke with said they are on board with the school requiring new students to get the vaccine.

The university says the menigitis B vaccine is a fairly new vaccine. It has only been available in the US since 2014.

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