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Knoxville — The American College Health Association and the University of Tennessee are recommending that students consider getting inoculated for meningitis.

Dr. Rick Prenshaw of UT’s Student Health Service said the warning is especially important for incoming freshmen.

“It has been recommended to students that they should consider getting the vaccination if they want to decrease their risk of getting the infection,” Prenshaw said. “It is not mandatory, but it is available if you want to decrease your risk.”

Prenshaw estimated that all the nation’s college campuses combined total about 125 cases of meningitis annually. While the incidence of the disease is rare, the results can be fatal. He said up to 15 students die from it each year.

“It is a very rare infection. At UT, we probably see on the average about one case every five years. But it can be fatal, so it is a very bad infection if you get it.”

Vaccinations against meningitis are available at UT Student Health Center and local health departments. The cost is $68. Further information is available from the UT Student Health Center -Travel Immunization nurse at 865-974-8647, or go to http://web.utk.edu/~kgivens/.