Students living on Missouri public college campuses now must be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA News

The Missouri Senate panel met Friday and reviewed legislation that would require all of Missouri’s students who live in student housing to be vaccinated for meningitis as of July 2015. The disease is transferred through saliva and is commonly contracted when living in close quarters with others who are infected.

Andrea Waner from Columbia’s Public Health and Human Services says the University of Missouri already has a similar policy in place, and she supports legislation that will enforce the vaccine for all of Missouri.

The Missouri Association of School Nurses is urging parents to get their children vaccinated against meningitis.

The association is among several health groups across the country urging meningococcal vaccination. A new report says only about half of Missouri's teens are vaccinated against the disease.

Meningitis is rare, but often deadly. It can be spread through common school activities such as sharing water bottles and drinking glasses. Ten percent of those who contract it die, sometimes within a day.