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Protect Yourself From Meningitis and Hepatitis B

The 2003 Wisconsin Act 61 requires that all college and university students living in a residence hall receive information on meningococcal disease (meningitis) and hepatitis B. As a student living in a residence hall in Wisconsin, you are required to report your vaccination status for meningococcal and hepatitis B, and provide the date of vaccination, if any.

If you are a living in a residence hall, sign into the housing portal and update your vaccination status for meningococcal disease and hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It can range from a mild short term illness lasting a few weeks, to more long term severe infection. Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer, or cirrhosis - a condition that permanently scars the liver.

Vaccinations are available to prevent hepatitis B, but there is no cure if have the condition.


Symptoms usually appear 1 to 4 months after you've been infected, although you may notice symptoms as early as two weeks after infection.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Jaundice - yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue

Hepatitis B can be diagnosis with an exam by a health care provider. Tests that can help diagnose hepatitis B are:

  • Blood tests
  • Liver ultrasound
  • Liver biopsy

An injection of immunoglobulin (an antibody) given within 24 hours of exposure may help protect you from getting sick with hepatitis B. Because this treatment provides short-term protection, you should also consider receiving the hepatitis B vaccine at the same time if you have never received it.

If it is determined you have a mild case, hepatitis B may not need treatment and go away on its own.

In severe cases, antiviral drugs or hospital stay may be needed to prevent complications.

Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Most cases in the United States are caused by a viral infection, but bacteria, parasites, and fungi can also be a cause. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment, while other may be severe and require emergency treatment.

  • Confusion or trouble concentrating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • No appetite or thirst
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Severe headache
  • Sleepiness or trouble waking
  • Stiff neck
  • Sudden high fever

A health care provider can diagnose meningitis based on medical history, physical exam, and testing:

  • Blood cultures
  • Imaging (CT/MRI)
  • Spinal tap

Bacterial Meningitis: must be treated immediately with intravenous antibiotics and sometime corticosteroids to ensure recovery and reduce complications such as brain swelling and seizures.

Viral Meningitis: most cases improve on their own in several weeks. Antibiotics cannot cure vial meningitis. Treatments includes rest, plenty of fluids, and medication to reduce fever and body aches.


Meningococcal vaccine is your best protection. The vaccine works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease.

Immunization against meningococcal disease is recommended for persons who are at risk of getting the disease because:

  • They have certain diseases or conditions that make them more susceptible to a meningococcal infection or more likely to develop serious problems from a meningococcal infection.
  • They are living, working, or visiting an area where there is a strong possibility of contracting meningococcal disease.

Prior to attending college, see your primary care provider for your annual visit and to ensure you have all the recommended immunizations - including meningococcal vaccines.

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