Outbreaks

Meningitis vaccine needed for some Missouri college students

FILE - In this Monday, March 2, 2015 photo, pharmacist Jenna Wright administers the Meningitis B vaccine to University of Oregon freshman Drew Russert during a mass vaccination clinic at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. after an outbreak of meningococcemia, resulting in the death of a student. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Brian Davies)

FILE - In this Monday, March 2, 2015 photo, pharmacist Jenna Wright administers the Meningitis B vaccine to University of Oregon freshman Drew Russert during a mass vaccination clinic at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. after an outbreak of meningococcemia, resulting in the death of a student. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Brian Davies)

Students living on Missouri public college campuses now must be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.

A state law requiring the vaccine for those living in on-campus housing took effect Wednesday. Students can seek a religious or medical exemption to the requirement.

Meningococcal disease can cause an inflammation of the brain lining known as meningitis. It can spread among people in crowded places such as dormitories and can strike quickly with sometimes deadly results.

Some symptoms can appear similar to the flu, including fever, headaches and neck stiffness.