PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Health and Wellness officials say there is no need for FFA conference delegates, advisers and guests to worry about contracting meningococcal disease while on the campus through Sunday.
“There is no need for panic. Because of the way meningococcal disease is spread — via close, prolonged contact with an infected individual — we have no reason to believe that FFA visitors to WSU are at any increased risk for contracting the disease,” said Bruce Wright, director of WSU’s Health and Wellness Services.
Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.
The university recently issued a request to its students recommending they receive the meningococcal vaccine before they return to classes in the fall.
“It is not urgent that students away from campus be vaccinated immediately. We would just like them to be vaccinated prior to coming to WSU in the fall, particularly if they will be living in residence halls, fraternities or sororities,” Wright said. Recent studies show that college students, particular freshmen living in dormitories, have an increased risk for the disease.
This spring three WSU freshmen contracted the disease. All have recovered or are expected to recover.