Health Center

Immunization & Disease Information

  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

               Common childhood illnesses that, if experienced as an adult or during pregnancy, may have serious consequences.

        Mumps – a very contagious disease characterized by swelling of the salivary glands. It spreads easily in schools by coughing, sneezing and direct contact.  After adolescence, mumps tend to affect the ovaries and the testes. The mature testis is particularly susceptible to damage which can lead to infertility.

        Measles – a very contagious viral infection spread through coughing and sneezing.  It is also known as rubeola, five-day measles, or hard measles. Measles feature a reddish skin rash. Women who contract measles while pregnant may give birth to a baby with hearing problems. The most serious consequence of measles is encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

        Rubella – a highly contagious viral disease, also called German measles, is spread through contact with discharges from the nose and throat. Symptoms include swollen glands, joint pain, low-grade fever and a fine red rash. Rubella can have serious complications for pregnant women including miscarriage or severe birth defects.

               The MMR immunization is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Information available at:

  • Meningococcal Disease (Meningitis)

               Meningitis is a contagious, potentially fatal infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. If not treated, meningitis can lead to permanent complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of MCV4 for adolescents. The first dose at 11 or 12 years old, with a booster dose at 16. • For those who receive the first dose at 13 through 15 years of age, a booster dose is recommended at 16 through 18. • For those who receive the first dose after 16, no booster dose is needed.

             ∗ This immunization is mandated by Missouri State Law and is required for all on-campus residency.

  • Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertusis (Tdap)

               Boosters are recommended every 10 years and may be indicated more frequently for certain injuries.

        Tetanus – an infection of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).  This disease is rare but often fatal. Tetanus is caused when bacterium enter the body through unclean wounds or cuts.

        Diphtheria – a highly contagious disease spread by direct physical contact or by sneezing or coughing. Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness characterized by sore throat, low-grade fever and fatigue.

        Pertussis – also known as “whooping cough” is a highly communicable infectious disease. It is most commonly spread through contact with respiratory droplets and less commonly through contact with recently contaminated item from an infected person. The incidence of pertussis remains a significant public health threat with a steadily increasing number of cases during the past two decades.

  • Tuberculosis

               Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious bacterial disease of the lungs that is spread through the air from one person to another. This disease may spread to other parts of the body and may be fatal. TB can now be treated, cured and prevented. However, TB remains one of the most serious diseases worldwide. TB screening is required for all new incoming students.

  • Hepatitis B

               A serious viral infection resulting in inflammation of the liver that may later lead to cancer of the liver or other serious complications. Hepatitis B is generally transmitted by contact with body fluids from an infected person. A series of three immunizations over a seven month period can prevent hepatitis B.

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

               A common childhood disease that is usually mild, but can be serious in young infants and adults. Chickenpox is spread through the air or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters. Symptoms include a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness. Chickenpox can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage or death. Individuals who contract chickenpox will always be at risk of developing a very painful and serious rash called shingles years later. Vaccination is recommended for anyone who has not had chickenpox.

  • Influenza

               A contagious disease caused by a virus which spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. For most people, it lasts only a few days.  Symptoms include fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches. A yearly influenza vaccination should be considered for people living in dormitories or under other crowded conditions to prevent outbreaks.

  • Pneumococcal disease (pneumonia)

               Pneumonia is a serious disease that can lead to life-threatening infections of the lungs, blood or covering of the brain and can cause death. Drugs such as penicillin, that were once effective in treating pneumococcal disease, have become more resistant often making treatment difficult. This makes prevention of the disease through vaccination even more important.

  • HPV (human papillomavirus)

               The most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. HPV can cause cervical cancer in some women. HPV can also cause genital warts and warts in the upper respiratory tract of both men and women. More than 50% of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at sometime in their lives. The HPV vaccine, called Gardasil, can prevent most genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer.  Gardasil is given between 9 – 26 years of age.  Gardasil is given in a 3-dose series over a six-month period.