I’d like to start with an apology. This article isn’t directly about sex. The title was just a desperate ploy to get your attention. But before you turn away in disgust, I would like to clarify that it can be about sex in an indirect way.
As you may or may not know, UCSB had an outbreak of meningitis caused by a bacteria called Meningococcal serogroup B, aka “Men B,” about a year and a half ago. Meningitis is a rare disease that infects the “meninges,” aka the sac in which the brain and spinal cord reside.
Meningitis caused by the Meningococcus bacteria is a particularly troublesome infection because it spreads quickly amongst people in close quarters (such as college students). Sometimes, even if antibiotics are started, the infection has taken such a stronghold in the body that it does not respond to the treatment, leading to brain damage, loss of limbs or death.
This is why just about every teenager gets a meningitis vaccine before entering high school. These vaccines go by the brand names Menactra® and Menveo® and Menomune®.
But here’s what was particularly unfair about the UCSB meningitis outbreak: The vaccine teenagers get covers serogroups A, C, W and Y. The outbreak at UCSB was caused by Meningococcal serogroup B which is not covered by the vaccine that is administered routinely. Princeton University and University of Oregon also had Men B cases. If they’re looking to emulate UCSB excellence, I’d suggest winning a Nobel Prize in economics.
This means that everyone coming to UCSB would need to get the Men B vaccine despite having already received a meningitis vaccine before coming to Gaucholand.
There will be vaccines at the health center, UCen, dormitories, Greek houses and RecCen throughout September. It will also be offered in “express clinics” at Student Health. See our website for details and keep an eye out for our “B-free” posters. The first 500 students to get the vaccine will get a free sore arm. The rest will also get a free sore arm.
So now, as promised, I bring you the sex portion of the article. Men B is spread through saliva. Therefore, it is conceivable that sharing cups, water bottles, utensils and kisses can spread the disease. By getting the Men B vaccine, one sex-associated risk will be crossed off the list.
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. Hope to see you all walking around campus holding your sore arms.
You can do it!