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Killer Disease on Campus

Program Overview


Note: This program contains graphic illustrations of loss of limbs and tissue death. Please preview the program to determine its appropriateness for your classroom.

NOVA examines the worldwide medical community's response to meningococcal disease, often referred to as meningitis—including streamlined response efforts of hospitals, treatment of patients, and vaccine development and use.

The program:

  • describes meningococcal bacteria and how they release endotoxins that harm the body.

  • distinguishes between the two main forms of meningococcal disease, meningitis and sepsis.

  • identifies the various types of meningococcal bacteria and how they impact different parts of the world.

  • explains that different vaccines are needed for each type and demonstrates the difficulty of developing an effective vaccine for type B.

  • shows the physical effects on patients, including loss of limbs and tissue death.

  • tells the personal stories of families of those who contracted the disease.

  • presents information about the symptoms and the need to get treatment quickly.

  • describes how public health experts calculate the costs and benefits of vaccination programs.

  • discusses the possibility of developing a vaccine based on the antibodies of survivors.

Teacher's Guide
Killer Disease on Campus
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