State of Pennsylvania, if a patient is 18 years of age, or has graduated from
high school, he or she is considered an adult regarding medical care. The
laws are strict regarding medical confidentiality. Medical information
cannot be released without the written consent of the patient. The law does
allow, and in some cases requires confidentially be broken if the patient is
a danger to himself or herself or others. If the patient is taken to the
emergency room, in most cases the emergency room physician will contact
parents with the patient’s permission.
If you and your parents
feel it is important for them to have information regarding your medical
care, we recommend you sign a Consent for Release of Medical Information form
during your appointment. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in
helping us meet our legal obligation to our young adult patients. If you
have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Health Center at
717-245-1835 or e-mail
You may also view
our statement addressing federal medical confidentiality regulations called
HIPAA by linking to
For Incoming Students
Dickinson College requires that incoming
students comply with the Pre-Admission Health Policy as listed below:
- Complete the Health History form online through
Gateway, located in the Student Forms tab. If you are unable to complete the
form online, download the Health
History form to be printed and completed. We request that you only
complete the hard copy if you are unable to complete it electronically.
- Schedule a physical exam with your health care provider, and submit the medical/health
forms no later than July 1, 2013. All forms must be completed and signed by
your health care provider.
- Review the information on Pennsylvania's
Meningitis Law: Information & Meningitis
Vaccine Waiver Form (which can be located and completed online, through the
Gateway on the Student Forms tab).
Important: Students who have not completed the
immunization requirements will not be able to directly check into their housing
assignment upon arrival to campus.
Meningitis Information & Waiver Form
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation and infection of the lining of the brain and
spinal cord caused by either a virus or bacteria.
Meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis and usually occurs
in late spring and summer. Signs and symptoms of viral meningitis may include
stiff neck, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash. Most cases of viral
meningitis run a short, uneventful course. Since the causative agent is a
virus, antibiotics are not effective. Persons who have had contact with an
individual with viral meningitis do not require any treatment.
- Bacterial Meningitis occurs rarely and sporadically
throughout the year, although outbreaks tend to occur in late winter and
early spring. Bacterial meningitis in college aged students may be due to an
organism called meningococcal bacteria. Because meningococcal meningitis can
cause grave illness and rapidly progress to death, it requires early
diagnosis and treatment. Persons who have had intimate contact with someone
who has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis should seek immediate
medical attention so they may get preventive therapy, which is a course of
Where does it come from?
meningococcal bacterial is found in nasal and oral secretions. People may
harbor this organism and never become ill, while others can become very sick,
which can lead to death.
How is it
This organism can be transmitted through close
personal contact such as sharing eating or drinking utensils, kissing on the
lips, sharing chap-stick or lip gloss, sharing cigarettes/cigars/pipes and
through sneezing or coughing. Risk factors also include habits which decrease
the immune system: Smoking, drinking alcohol, lack of sleep or proper
nutrition and stress.
How often are cases
Most people who become infected simply carry the
organism harmlessly, without illness, and eliminate it from the nose and
throat within a short time by developing natural immunity. At any one time,
up to 10% of the normal population may be found carrying meningococcus
without illness or symptoms.
Very rarely, an individual may
develop an illness with signs and symptoms of fever, headache, and stiff
neck, sometimes with a rash or vomiting, and sometimes with fatigue or
change in consciousness or awareness of their surroundings. If you
experience these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical
Familiarize yourself with the risk factors and means or transmission. Wash
and sanitize your hands frequently. Get lots of sleep, exercise and
nutritious food which will boost your immune system. Finally, if you drink
alcohol, do so responsibly and in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption
is believed by some health authorities to increase susceptibility to
The American College Health Association recommends
that all college students under the age of 30 become knowledgeable about
the vaccine and consider getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease.
A new Pennsylvania law mandates all students either receive the vaccine or
sign a waiver.
The vaccine protects against four out of 5
serotypes (subtypes) of meningitis. The vaccine is 90% effective against
sybtypes C, which accounts for 20-45% of all cases. 46% of all bacterial
meningitis is caused by subtype B, for which no vaccine is yet available.
Clinical protection from the vaccine for subtypes Y and W-135 has not been
documented, however, antibodies are produced.
The vaccine decreases
the risk of meningococcal disease for 3-5 years, and overall is 80%- 90%
effective; however, effectiveness of the vaccine (production of antibodies)
decreases markedly during the first 3 years following vaccination. Therefore,
revaccination may be considered for freshmen who were vaccinated more than 3-5
years earlier. Routine revaccination of college students who were vaccinated
as freshmen is not indicated.
As with any vaccine, the meningitis
vaccine may not protect 100% of susceptible individuals. If a student who has
had the vaccine is exposed to meningococcal meningitis or disease, the experts
recommend that the exposed person still have antibiotics to protect them
against the disease despite the vaccine.
The vaccine will not
protect against other bacteria that cause meningitis
Effects & Contraindications
Minor effects include
localized redness in the injection site for 1-2 days, headache, fatigue,
fever, and chills. You should not get the vaccine if you are pregnant, have
a fever, or are allergic to either latex or Thimerosal, a preservative used
in the vaccine. If you are receiving immunosuppressive therapy, you will
not receive the full benefit of the vaccine.
Please be aware: As
with all vaccinations there is a chance of allergic reaction or
anaphylactic shock which may lead to death.
Meningitis Vaccine ($)
The vaccine is currently available
through Health Services for $95. Students may charge this fee to their
account, use their declining balance or pay cash. If you plan on being
vaccinated at your doctor's office, prices will vary.
the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Meningitis Vaccine Information (PDF)
Waiver Form (PDF) - Complete online through Gateway, or return a completed
and signed form to Health Services