Bacterial meningitis can be deadly if it's not treated in time. For those who've taken it, the vaccine has done a lot to ease fears.
For many, getting a shot is never a pleasant experience, and getting folks to get a shot that's not required is even tougher, but Georgia's South Health director says the shot is much easier to bear than the pain caused by bacterial meningitis.
Dr. Lynne Feldman, South Georgia Health Director, says, "Your symptoms will start out with sore throat, fever, headache. It would progress to severe headaches, a stiff neck, vomiting, and if you were not treated you would go on to coma and possibly death."
Students are required to get a meningitis shot before starting class here at Valdosta State University. Many students tell us they are not afraid of a meningitis outbreak here on campus, but that does not stop them from taking preventive measures."
Gala Jackson, a VSU junior, says, "Coming to college, I knew there'd be a lot of people here, so I knew I had to keep a sanitary environment. My mom would always call and say 'Make sure you wash your hands, and keep things clean so you don't get a cold and don't get sick.' That's what I did; I wasn't really worried about the whole meningitis scare."
Officials say there may not be a need to worry, but being aware of the danger can be healthy.
Feldman adds, "When it happens (meningitis infection), it's a terrible, deadly disease. It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does it's a tragedy."
The meningitis vaccines are not cheap, costing at least $70 in many places, but doctors say it's a small price to pay to stay healthy.