The parents of a Kalamazoo College sophomore who lost her life to Meningitis B is asking the state of Michigan to mandate vaccination for all college students.
Emily Stillman was 19-years-old when she contracted Meningitis B, the only type of meningitis not included in the vaccine given to children in the United States.
Emily passed away only hours after contracting the disease.
“There was no vaccine for Meningitis B when Emily contracted the disease, but there is now,” said Alicia Stillman, Emily’s mother. “Making the immunization a requirement for students on campuses across Michigan will save lives and prevent the kind of heartache my family has experiences every day.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter and educational information to every college and university in the state asking them to change their school’s immunization policy.
The most common meningitis vaccine only protects against four different strains. Adolescents are still at risk for the group B strain of meningitis without a second, unique vaccination.
Meningitis B accounts for nearly 50 percent of all meningitis cases in persons 17 to 22 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In July of this year, a 21-year-old Macomb County woman passed away after contracting the disease at a day camp in Rochester Hills. She was a student at Central Michigan University.
The symptoms of meningitis can include feeling poor, a fever, nausea and vomiting, a severe and persistent headache, a stiff neck, joint pain, confusion or other mental changes, sensitivity to light, and a red or purple skin rash in which color does not fade when pressure is applied to the skin. Symptoms can appear quickly or over several days.