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Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Meningitis Information

Last update: October 30, 2014

Nine cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease have been associated with Princeton University. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health are not recommending cancelling or curtailing events or activities on campus.

Meningitis B Vaccine Clinics

The CDC recommends that all Princeton University undergraduate students and eligible graduate students (see eligibility requirements) and and members of the University community with specific medical conditions, including problems with their spleen (including sickle cell disease) or complement pathway (a specific type of immune deficiency)receive a vaccine that helps protect against meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B bacteria. Between March 2013 and March 2014, nine cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease have been associated with Princeton University. There have been no cases occurring on campus or affecting Princeton students since November 2013.

The vaccine is provided in two doses at separate times.

THE LAST CHANCE to receive the vaccine is Wednesday, November 19, noon to 7 p.m. in Frist Campus Center, Level B in the Multipurpose Room. 

Princeton University will cover the cost of the vaccine. The vaccine will only be available at these clinics, and it will not be administered anywhere else.

Students under the age of 18 will need a signed consent form from their parent or guardian before receiving the vaccine.

Because protection provided by the first dose declines over time, two doses of the vaccine are needed for full immunity.

Meningitis B is not covered by the vaccine that is required for teenagers in the US. This vaccine for meningitis B is not licensed in the US; however, beginning in December 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed the University to import a meningitis B vaccine that is licensed in Europe, Australia and Canada, but not in the US. On October 29, 2014, the FDA approved a different meningitis B vaccine made by Pfizer.

Students can help prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis by doing the following:

  • Don't share drinking glasses, smoking materials, eating utensils, cosmetics or lip balm
  • Always cough into a sleeve or tissue
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Use hand sanitizer often
  • Don't drink from a common source such as a punch bowl

Students who have received the meningitis B vaccine on campus have likely protected themselves from getting sick, but they can still spread the meningitis bacteria to others who have not been vaccinated.

If you or a close contact becomes sick:

  • Anyone with a high fever should seek medical attention immediately
  • Students should immediately report to or call University Health Services at 
    609-258-3141
  • You may become ill with meningitis even if you have not been in contact with someone who is sick

ELIGIBILITY FOR VACCINE
All undergraduate students are eligible. Graduate student may receive the meningitis vaccine if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Live in the Graduate College and annexes
  • Live in undergraduate dormitory (e.g, resident graduate assistant)
  • Live elsewhere AND are under 30 years of age (young adults are at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease) AND in an intimate relationship with an undergraduate student or a graduate student living in the Graduate College, Graduate College Annex, or in the undergraduate residential colleges.

The vaccine will continue to be available for all Princeton University graduate students living in undergraduate dormitories, the Graduate College and annexes, and members of the University community with specific medical conditions, including problems with their spleen (including sickle cell disease) or complement pathway (a specific type of immune deficiency).

For frequently asked questions about the University vaccine clinics, including specific questions about eligible populations, the second dose and more, please visit: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/emergency/meningitis.html.

For frequently asked questions about the vaccine and bacterial meningitis, please visit the CDC's meningitis information website: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/outbreaks/vaccine-serogroupB.html

You may also email the CDC at meningvaccine@cdc.gov, which is dedicated to answering questions about the vaccine.

This website provides information resources for meningitis. This list of questions and answers and resources on this page will be updated regularly.

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Questions and Answers

updated 10/7/14

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Last update: 30-Oct-2014 3:31 PM
Web page comments or errors: Robin Izzo.