Serogroup B Meningococcal Disease Outbreaks
The following information on serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreaks is provided by ACHA’s Vaccine-Preventable Disease Advisory Committee after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The ongoing serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak at Princeton University brings national attention to an issue of longstanding importance to the college health community. The dramatic decline in cases of meningococcal disease since the late 1990s coincides with the widespread use of the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine in adolescents and students entering college.
Outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease are rare. Since the first case last spring, Princeton officials have collaborated diligently with local and state public health officials and the CDC. After the third case (which defines an outbreak), CDC initiated discussions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to acquire Bexsero, the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine that is licensed in Europe and Australia, to be made available for this specific outbreak. Cases of meningococcal disease are reportable in every state, and no spread beyond the Princeton campus has occurred or is expected.
It is well known that the close quarters of campus residence hall living puts students at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Educating the campus community in the following ways may help reduce risk:
- Please take charge of your health and understand the importance of the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines and the need for a booster dose for students entering college if the first dose was given prior to age 16.
- Good hygiene measures such as not smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, and not sharing drinking and eating utensils and other items that have contacted saliva is very important.
- Be aware of the early signs of disease and the need for quick treatment and prompt notification of local public health officials for a suspected case, implement prompt post-exposure antibiotic prophylaxis.
- Meningitis resources include:
Follow ongoing updates from the CDC on their Meningococcal Disease page.