Many Opt Out Of Meningitis Vaccine


Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 11:09 am
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A 22-year-old Oklahoma State University student who came down with meningitis is among a majority of students at the university who choose not to get a vaccine for the serious disease. Chris Etemadi is recovering from the disease, a sometimes-fatal infection of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord, said his mother, Beatrice Etemadi. He was first diagnosed with the ailment Saturday.

The meningitis vaccination is recommended for students who live in dorms, but Etemadi lives off campus.

"The thought never registered that he needed a vaccination," his mother said. "You don't stop and think that you're that one in a million" to contract a rare disease."

In fact, most students, even those who live on campus, don't get the meningitis vaccine, which can cost upward of $100. About half of the incoming freshmen opt out of dorm rules to get vaccinated, said OSU spokesman Gary Shutt.

Etemadi is the third OSU student in 12 months to contract meningitis, but that is not statistically worrisome, according to the state Health Department.

Etemadi, a mechanical engineering sophomore, did not know the other OSU students, who have recovered.

Beatrice Etemadi said several family members, a lab partner and several of her son's friends were prescribed antibiotics as a precaution against the disease, since they may have been exposed to the bacteria that can causes it.

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