Bacterial Meningitis: What You Need to Know

Effective November 1, 2012, Texas law requires most incoming college students to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis or provide an exemption request declining the vaccine.  Senate Bill 1107 amends current Texas law requiring proof of Bacterial Meningitis vaccination at least 10 days before attending classes.

All students must meet the bacterial meningitis compliance requirement to register for classes.

Meeting the state meningitis compliance requirement is part of the registration process.  Student access to class registration is blocked until evidence of compliance with meningitis requirements is completed. Students should plan ahead to meet compliance requirements and eliminate registration delays. Confirm your compliance status by signing into myLoneStar. 

You are REQUIRED to provide proof of vaccination or exemption if any of the following apply:

  • You are enrolling in college for the first time as a credit student.
  • You are returning to college after a break in enrollment of one, or more, fall or spring semesters.
  • You are transferring to LSC for the fall or spring semester from another college or university following a break in enrollment of one, or more, fall or spring semesters.
  • You are an early college, dual credit or other exceptional admissions student enrolled in classes on a Lone Star College campus.
  • You are a non-credit Career & Technical Education student also enrolled in credit classes.

You are EXEMPT from the requirement if any of the following apply:

  • You are 22 years of age or older. 
  • You have been continuously enrolled (fall and spring) at LSCS or another institution of higher education since fall 2011.  An unofficial transcript is required to verify continuous enrollment.
  • You are enrolled in a non-credit CTE course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, and are not taking any credit classes.
  • You are enrolled in non-credit corporate training.
  • You are enrolled in 100% online or distance education courses.
  • You are a dual-credit student taking courses taught at a public or private K-12 facility not located on a higher education institution campus.
  • You obtain a medical exemption (see below).
  • You obtain a conscientious objection exemption (see below).

Remember, even if you are exempt from the bacterial meningitis vaccination, you are strongly encouraged to obtain the vaccinations before registering at Lone Star College. Please keep in mind the following considerations.

  •  The bacterial meningitis vaccination must be administered by a Health Practitioner authorized by law to administer an immunization.
  • Vaccinations older than 5 years will require a booster
  • All students must receive the bacterial meningitis vaccination at least 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

Three ways to meet the bacterial meningitis compliance requirement:

1) Submit proof of Vaccination.

Vaccination Documents

Vaccination documents must include the month/day/year and specific type of vaccination administered. Evidence of Vaccination must show that the vaccination was received at least 10 days prior to attending classes. Evidence of Vaccination must be submitted in one of the following formats:

  • A document bearing the signature or stamp of the physician, a designee, or the public health personnel who administered the immunization.
  • An official immunization record generated by a state or local health authority.
  • An official immunization record from another school, including those from another state.

Vaccination Document Steps

Must be uploaded, faxed or mailed to Magnus SMR
Note: CVS Pharmacies are a preferred provider and will upload your vaccination record directly to Magnus IF you have already established your account and you receive your vaccination through CVS.

  1. From your Magnus account inside myLoneStar, download and print the affidavit form.
  2. Take the affidavit form to your physician and have the physician complete and sign the form or provide you with an official immunization record including all information outlined:
    1. An official physician signature or stamp
    2. Physician must indicate the month/day/year the vaccination was administered
    3. Physician must indicate the specific vaccine administered (either MCV4 or MPSV4).
  3. Make a copy of the form for your records.
  4. Upload, fax or mail the exemption affidavit using instructions posted in your Magnus account.  Use the student cover sheet as indicated; each cover sheet contains individual student account codes. 

For information about vaccination providers.

2) Submit proof of Medical Exemption.

Must be uploaded, faxed or mailed to Magnus SMR

An affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician. The physician must be registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States. The affidavit must state the physician's opinion that the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student. Form may be uploaded, faxed or mailed (must use Magnus cover sheet to fax/mail and follow instructions on the cover sheet.)

Medical Exemption Steps:
  1. From your Magnus account inside myLoneStar, download and print the affidavit form
  2. Take the affidavit form to your physician and have the physician complete and sign the form.
  3. Make a copy of the form for your records.
  4. Upload, fax or mail the exemption affidavit using instructions posted in your Magnus account.  Each cover sheet contains individual student account codes.

3) Submit proof of Conscientious Objection.

Students enrolling at Lone Star College wishing to submit an exemption from immunizations for reasons of conscience must:

  1. Complete the Exemption from Meningococcal Vaccination Requirements for Reasons of Conscience form from the Texas Department of State Health Service.
  2. Print and Sign the completed form.
  3. Submit the original signed form to the Admissions/Advising office.

Magnus Health SMR

Lone Star College has partnered with Magnus SMR (Student Medical Records), an electronic system for tracking and storing the bacterial meningitis immunizations and medical exemptions. Access Magnus SMR inside your myLoneStar student account.

  1. Once a student has applied for admission to LSCS, students must log into myLoneStar to access the link to Magnus SMR and create a personal account. There is a $10 charge to create the personal student account with Magnus Health SMR; students are responsible for paying this administrative fee directly to Magnus when they set up an account.
  2. After successfully creating a Magnus Health SMR account, students should view and download instructions on how to electronically submit meningitis vaccination documentation required and comply with Texas state law. Proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination or any exemption from this vaccine must be submitted through Magnus Health SMR.
  3. Immunization records may be uploaded, faxed or mailed (must use Magnus cover sheet to fax/mail and follow instructions on the cover sheet).
  4. Magnus student accounts can only be accessed from inside myLoneStar.
  5. Magnus Health SMR will send email notifications to student email accounts with additional instructions and/or notifications regarding your vaccination verification process.

Click here for help documents:

About Magnus Health SMR

Magnus Health Student Medical Records (SMR) is used by more than 900 schools for managing school health records. Lone Star College has adopted this system because it:

  • Reduces the future burden of paperwork on our students.
  • Provides HIPAA and FERPA privacy and security practices to the information
  • Makes this information instantly available to you if the need arises in the future.
  • Advances the speed of care and communication to you in the event of an outbreak or illness on campus.

About Bacterial Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The severity of illness and treatment differs depending on whether it is caused by a virus or bacterium. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. Bacterial meningitis can be severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. It is also important to know what type of bacterial meningitis, because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people.

Haemophilus influenzaetype b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis before the 1990s. Since the Hib vaccine is now given to all children as part of their routine immunizations, the number of Hib infections and related meningitis cases has declined. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are now the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.

Symptoms of the Disease

High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours or take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.

Transmission of the Disease

Some forms of bacterial meningitis are contagious. The bacteria is mainly spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. This can occur through coughing, kissing, and sneezing, yet none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as the common cold or flu. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

Sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningococcal meningitis or Hib. People in the same household or daycare center or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of getting the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by N. meningitides should receive antibiotics (prophylaxis) to prevent them from getting the disease. This is if there is 1 household contact younger than 48 months who has not been fully immunized against Hib or a child with a weakened immune system, then the entire household, regardless of age, should receive prophylaxis.

Reducing Your Risks of Infection

Follow good hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Clean contaminated surfaces with soap and water or a disinfecting solution.
  • Cover your cough by coughing into your upper arm or using a tissue. After using a tissue, place it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid kissing or sharing a drinking glass, eating utensil, lipstick, or other such items with sick people or with others when you are sick.
  • Receiving vaccinations as recommended.
  • Try to avoiding bites from mosquitoes and other insects that carry diseases that can infect humans
  • If you have a rodent infestation in and around your home, take cleaning and control precautions as recommended by the CDC.

When to Return to School/Work

The CDC and Texas State Department of Health Services provide the following general guidelines to determine when one can return to work after developing meningitis:

NOTE: Individuals who have had meningitis should stay away from school and work for as long as symptoms exist. This could be for an extended period of time. It is highly recommended that an individual seek guidance from their health care professional or the local health department to determine when it is appropriate to return to work or school.

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