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Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

Meningitis Information

Last update: April 15, 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 have advised not to cancel or curtail events or activities on campus.

Vigilance and vaccination are still important

The sad news about a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia who recently died from meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B bacteria reminds all of us to continue to be vigilant in following good health practices to prevent the spread of this illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation revealed the Drexel student had been in close contact with students from Princeton University about a week before becoming ill.

The CDC announced today that its analysis showed that the outbreak strain at Princeton and the strain in the Drexel case match by “genetic fingerprinting.”

While it is not possible to definitively conclude how the Drexel student contracted meningococcal disease, the case indicates that the outbreak strain may still be present. It does not indicate whether or not more cases will occur at Drexel or Princeton universities.

At this time, the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health continue their recommendation not to cancel events or curtail activities at Princeton University.

There is no evidence that family members and the community are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease from casual contact with Princeton University students, faculty or staff. Although transmission is from person-to-person, the bacteria are not highly contagious and require sharing respiratory and oral secretions to spread.

A high percentage of Princeton University undergraduate students and eligible graduate students have already received both doses of the serogroup B vaccine at campus clinics in recent months. Students who have received both doses of the vaccine have likely protected themselves from getting sick, but there is a chance they may still be able to carry the serogroup B bacteria in their throats.

Eligible individuals who have not received the first or second dose of the vaccine may do so next week. Vaccine clinics will be held 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, March 26-27 in the Frist Campus Center. Two doses of the vaccine are needed for maximum personal protection.

All members of the University community should continue to help prevent the spread of disease by increasing hygienic practices, and not sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, smoking materials and other items.

Any student with a high fever should go to University Health Services in McCosh Health Center or call (609) 258-3141 during business hours or (609) 258-3139 after hours.

It is important to remember you may become ill with meningitis even if you have not been in contact with someone who is sick.

CDC and University officials will continue to closely monitor the situation and determine next steps.

For frequently asked questions about the University vaccine clinics, including specific questions for students, faculty, staff and community members, please visit: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/emergency/meningitis.html.

For frequently asked questions about the vaccine and bacterial meningitis, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) meningitis information website: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/vaccine-serogroupB.html#serogroup.

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

The University will continue to provide reminders and additional information about the vaccine and precautions to help limit the spread of bacterial meningitis. 

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 3/27/14

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Last update: 15-Apr-2014 11:12 AM
Web page comments or errors: Robin Izzo.