Indiana State Law IC 20-30-5-18 requires that school systems provide important information to
parents and guardians of students about meningococcal disease and the vaccines available to
prevent this serious illness at the beginning of each school year.
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis and generally affects
children and young adults in two ways:
- meningitis (an inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and or spinal cord)
- bloodstream infection (that usually leads to bleeding under the skin)
Symptoms of meningococcal disease can include a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck,
nausea, and confusion and in blood stream infections a rash will develop. This disease progresses
rapidly and often results in permanent hearing loss, mental retardation, limb amputations and
even death. The bacteria spread through air droplets or by means of direct contact with an
infected person’s saliva.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine
vaccination with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra) for all students. The Indiana
State Department of Health requires the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
Many local health departments and private healthcare providers offer this vaccine. Please talk
with your student’s healthcare provider about meningococcal vaccine and immunization.
Additional resources for families to obtain information about meningococcal disease include the
The Indiana State Department of Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Indiana Department of Education Student Services, School Health