As of July 2005, schools in Washington must make information
available on Meningococcal and Human Papillomavirus diseases to parents
or guardians of all students entering Grades 6-12.
Meningococcal Disease and Prevention
Meningococcal disease spreads by direct contact with infected persons
by coughing, kissing, or sharing anything by mouth, such as water
bottles, eating utensils, lipsticks, or toothbrushes. It can cause
pneumonia, bloodstream infection, and meningitis (swelling of the
covering of the brain and spinal cord). Severe disease can cause brain
damage, loss of hearing or limbs, and death. Fortunately, this
life-threatening infection is rare – we usually have only about 30-60
reported each year in Washington, including 1 to 8 deaths. Adolescents
and young adults are more likely to get meningococcal disease,
especially if they live in group settings, like college dorms.
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4)
MCV4 protects your child against the most common types of bacteria
that cause meningococcal disease. Washington provides all recommended
vaccines for kids through age 18, available from healthcare providers
across the state. Providers may charge an office visit fee and an
administration fee to give the vaccine. People who can’t afford the
administration fee can ask to have it waived. Healthy teens should get
one dose of MCV4 at age 11 through 12 years. Teens who did not get their
first dose at that time should get a dose as soon as possible. A second
dose (or booster) is now recommended. Teens should get a booster at age
16 through 18 years or anytime before college. Talk to your healthcare
provider about this vaccine.
Learn more about meningococcal disease and how to prevent it:
Washington State Department of Health
Meningococcal information: www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/Diseases/MeningitisMeningococcalDisease.aspx
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Meningococcal vaccine information: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-mening.pdf
Disease information: www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html
Pre-teen immunizations: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/preteens-adol.htm
College students & young adults: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/college.html
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center
Meningococcal questions & answers: www.chop.edu/healthinfo/meningococcal-infections.html
National Meningitis Association www.nmaus.org
Human papillomavirus (HPV) Disease and Prevention
Human papillomavirus (HPV) Disease
What is HPV?
HPV is a common virus that spreads primarily through sexual contact.
Up to 75 percent of HPV infections occur among people 15 through 24
years old. HPV causes most known cervical cancers, anal cancers, and
genital warts. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the
same as the types that cause cancer. Some types of HPV can cause
penile, anal, head, and neck cancers.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Most of the time infected individuals have no symptoms and can spread
the virus without knowing it. Some people know they have HPV because
they have a symptom like genital warts. Women may find out they have HPV
through cervical cancer screening (Pap tests) and HPV testing. Health
care providers do not usually test for HPV unless they find abnormal
cervical cell changes in a Pap test.
How can HPV infection be prevented?
The best way to prevent HPV infection is to abstain from all sexual
activity. Even people with only one lifetime partner can get HPV if
their partner had previous sexual partners. Using condoms during sex
offers good protection against sexual infections like HPV. The HPV
vaccines offer by far the best protection if given before sexual
activity starts – vaccines do not get rid of existing HPV infections.
The HPV vaccine can prevent infections from some of the most common and
serious types of HPV that cause warts, cervical, and anal cancers.
What HPV vaccines are available?
Two HPV vaccines are available:
- HPV4 – licensed for males and females. It protects against four
types of HPV. These include two types of HPV that cause 75 percent of
cervical cancers in women and most anal cancers in men, and two types
that cause 90 percent of genital warts in both women and men.
- HPV2– licensed only for females. It protects against the two types of HPV that cause 75 percent of cervical cancers.
Who should get the vaccine and when should they get it?
- Females – the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice
(ACIP) recommends routine vaccination for all girls age 11 through 12
years old against HPV. For unvaccinated females, the recommendation goes
up through age 26. Health care providers may also give the vaccine to
girls as young as 9 years.
- Males – the ACIP recently approved a recommendation for routine
vaccination of boys 11 through 12 years of age. For unvaccinated males,
the recommendation goes up through age 21. Health care providers may
vaccinate boys as young as 9 years and certain men 22 through 26 years
To be up-to-date on this immunization, males and females need three
doses of the vaccine. Talk to your health care provider about the
vaccine schedule. HPV vaccine is not required for school in Washington.
Are Pap tests still recommended for females who get the HPV vaccine?
Yes. The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cancer and warts, so females still need Pap tests.
Where can I find the HPV vaccine?
Washington provides all recommended vaccines for kids through age 18,
available from healthcare providers across the state. Providers may
charge an office visit fee and an administration fee to give the
vaccine. People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have
it waived. For people age 19 and older, the vaccine is available from
many clinics and pharmacies. Most health insurance plans cover the
vaccine for people recommended to get it. Call your health plan to check
your coverage. For adults without health insurance, the companies that
make these vaccines have programs to help pay for them. Find out if your
health care provider participates in these programs.
For more information on HPV, the vaccine, and cervical Cancer:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/
Washington State Department of Health: www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/348-187_HumanPapillomavirusVaccineFactsheet.pdf
American Sexual Health Association: www.ashasexualhealth.org/healthcare-providers/hpv-toolkit/hpv-vaccine-information.html
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org