Recent evidence indicates that college students residing on campus in dormitories or residence halls appear to be at higher risk for meningococcal meningitis than college students overall. Further research recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows freshmen living in dormitories have a six-fold increased risk for meningococcal meningitis than college students overall.
Although anyone can be a carrier of the bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis, data indicate certain social behaviors, such as exposure to passive and active smoking, bar patronage and excessive alcohol consumption, may put college students at increased risk for the disease. Patients with respiratory infections, compromised immunity, those in close contact to a known case and travelers to endemic areas of the world are also at increased risk. Cases and outbreaks usually occur in the late winter and early spring when school is in session.