Maine pupils from middle and high schools have to be vaccinated against meningitis starting in the school year 2018-1919.
The new rule applies to seventh and twelfth grade students for whom vaccination was previously recommended but not required. Bacterial meningitis is a rare but potentially fatal disease in which the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. There is no vaccine for more common viral meningitis that has milder symptoms.
"Meningococcal disease (bacterial meningitis) is a rare but dangerous disease that affects healthy adolescents without warning," said a news alert from the Maine Department of Education. "It can affect all ages, but adolescents and young adults have the highest risk of getting the disease."
The symptoms include a stiff neck, severe headache and fever.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a case of bacterial meningitis in 201
Meningitis outbreaks occur more frequently when people live in tight quarters such as student dormitories
At national level, there were 370 cases of bacterial meningitis in 2016 according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"These changes continue to align Maines' vaccine regulations with current national recommendations to better protect the health of all people in Maine, said the Maine Department of Education." Maine Meningitis vaccination coverage for teens ages 13 to 17 was 83.5 Percent in 2016, compared with the 82.2 percent national average, according to the US CDC.
The US CDC strongly recommends vaccinations because bacterial meningitis is a fast and potentially fatal
"Doctors treat meningococcal disease with antibiotics, but fast medical care is extremely important. Keeping up with the recommended vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease, "said the American CDC.
Maine also recently called for a pertussis booster dose for seventh-grade students. or whooping cough – is a persistent public health problem in Maine, with 410 cases in 2017. Sanford schools reported an outbreak, with a total of six cases in elementary and middle school on April 11.
One outbreak is defined as three or more people with infectious disease in one place, such as a school, church, or dorm, Maine had the third highest rate of pertussis in the nation in 2016, and national comparisons were available last year.