Medical experts said that since meningitis is not spread through casual contact the way a cold or flu is, it makes sense that the CDC has not immediately issued the vaccine to the UC Santa Barbara community.
Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Medical Center, said that meningitis outbreaks at universities rarely spread beyond the student body.
"At the moment, the public health response is not a shotgun response but a rifle response," said Schaffner. "[They're] targeting a population who is at risk."
Schaffner said that students who are experiencing severe headaches, fever and flu-like symptoms should see a doctor.
"Initially, it's a very deceptive infection. You feel flu-ey. You get tired and weak. The disease can progress very quickly," said Schaffner, who said people can go from flu symptoms to being unresponsive in hours. "You can get more fever and a stiff neck, and you may get a rash and may become confused and unaware. It can move very quickly and it is a frightening infection."