- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Students living on college campuses could be required to get vaccinated against bacterial meningitis under legislation endorsed by a Missouri Senate committee.

The legislation would require all students in on-campus housing to have the meningococcal vaccine starting in July 2015, unless they seek a religious or medical exemption.

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.

The Senate health committee endorsed the legislation Thursday. The panel heard testimony two weeks ago from a former college student who suffered permanent disabilities because of the disease.