New Orleans – Students of Dillard University seeking a meningitis vaccine can get one at no cost tomorrow, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lawless Chapel on the university campus.

 Health officials with the Department of Health – Office of Public Health are sponsoring this vaccine clinic in response to last week’s death of a 22-year old Dillard student due to meningitis.

 The vaccines will be given to all Dillard students with valid university identification.

 “We are working with the school to take the necessary precautions to protect other students and prevent the spread of the disease,” said Dr. Takeisha Davis, Region 1 Medical Director for the Office of Public Health.

 Other precautions taken by the Office of Public Health include identifying and providing preventive treatment to the victim’s close contacts, as well as addressing an assembly of students and university officials to provide education and information about meningitis.

 Meningitis is caused by bacteria and occurs in the fluid surrounding the brain or in the blood.  These infections are not highly contagious but can be fatal.  Anyone can get meningitis but it is more common in infants less than one year of age and people with certain medical conditions.  College freshmen who live in dormitories have an increased risk of getting meningitis.

 Health officials warn that the vaccination is not to be confused with treatment for meningitis. It takes approximately two weeks for the vaccination to take effect. Anyone with signs and symptoms of meningitis such as fever and headache accompanied by mood changes and a stiff neck should seek immediate medical attention.