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Meningococcal Disease in the United States

04 Dec 2013

A long-standing outbreak of meningococcal disease among university students was first identifed in March 2013. To date, 8 cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease have been reported in Princeton University students or persons with links to Princeton University during the last 8 months, including 3 cases reported since September 2013. One case occurred in a high school student who stayed in a Princeton dormitory and developed illness within one day of returning home; the other 7 cases occurred in Princeton University undergraduate students.

During the month of November 2013, 3 cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease have been reported among University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) students. No epidemiologic links have been identified between the Princeton University and the UCSB cases.

Although both outbreaks are caused by serogroup B, additional molecular typing shows that the outbreaks are being caused by 2 different strains, indicating that the outbreaks are not related.

Advice for Travellers

American Health Advisors do not recommend a change in normal activity to avoid contact with the affected universities or their students. Good hygiene practices such as hand washing, and coughing or sneezing into the arm are recommended. A serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, which is only licensed for use in Europe and Australia, will be offered at Princeton University.