Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Meningitis Information

Last update: February 4, 2015

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 Available at University Health Services

In October 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Trumemba, a meningitis B vaccine made by Pfizer. This vaccine requires three doses, with dose two after two months and dose three after six months. Individuals who received one dose of the Novartis vaccine that the University offered last year and this year would need to have all three doses of Trumemba to be fully protected.

In January 2015, the FDA approved Bexsero, the meningitis B vaccine made by Novartis and provided in the University's vaccination clinics.

University Health Services currently has Trumemba in stock. They will also have Bexsero as soon as it is available for purchase. Both vaccines are only approved for individuals who are 10 to 25 years old. Meningitis B is not covered by the vaccine that is required for teenagers in the US.

Undergraduate and graduate students may receive these vaccines free of charge from University Health Services until the end of the academic year.

The CDC recommends that all Princeton University undergraduate students and certain graduate students (see recommendations) 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.

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 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 
  • You may become ill with meningitis even if you have not been in contact with someone who is sick

The CDC recommends that all undergraduate students receive the vaccine. CDC recommend the graduate students receive the 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.

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

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


Questions and Answers

updated 10/7/14

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Last update: 05-Feb-2015 2:41 PM
Web page comments or errors: Robin Izzo.