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OSU confirms meningococcal outbreak

24 Dec 2017

By: Paul R. Cieslak, MD, Oregon Health Authority

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This is an update to the Oregon State University Mening B Disease Outbreak. Public health partners, please distribute this information to healthcare providers and vaccinators. This information is for official use and intended specifically for local public health, health care providers and vaccinators.

A sixth case of meningococcal disease was reported this week in an Oregon State University (OSU) undergraduate student. We urge healthcare providers and pharmacists to encourage vaccination and to take every opportunity to vaccinate all OSU undergraduate student 25 years of age and under with a series of serogroup B meningococcal vaccine. Winter break, which began December 9th, will continue through January 8th, so many students have returned home and could present for care far from Corvallis.

We ask that healthcare providers consider meningococcal disease in the differential diagnosis for college students — particularly students with links to OSU — presenting with unexplained high fever, headache, stiff neck, or rash. Please report any suspected cases promptly to your local public health department.

Between November 2016 and December 2017, Benton County Health Department and colleagues have investigated five cases of confirmed serogroup B meningococcal disease in undergraduate students attending OSU’s Corvallis campus. A sixth case of meningococcal disease was reported in an OSU student this week; confirmatory and serogroup testing is underway.

Vaccination is recommended for all OSU undergraduate students age of 25 and under. Additionally, OSU now requires incoming students age 25 and under to receive one of the two available series of meningococcal B vaccine.

Two brands of Men B vaccines are licensed in the United States, and they are NOT interchangeable.

  • Bexsero®, a 2-dose series, with the 2nd dose given at least 1 month after the first; and
  • Trumenba®, a 3-dose series, with the 2nd dose given 1 month after the first, and the 3rd dose given 6 months after the first. (The so-called 2-dose series of Trumenba® is NOT recommended in the urgency of an outbreak.)

Either vaccine may be used, but because they are NOT interchangeable, the follow-up doses should be of the same brand as the initial dose. Please make sure that recipients are fully aware of the importance of knowing the brand name, and the dates and timing of follow-up doses. Likewise, we ask providers to check the ALERT immunization information system (IIS) for any Men B vaccination history; and to record in ALERT IIS any vaccination that you administer, so that records will be available any providers subsequently called upon to vaccinate. Some students may recall vaccination but lack documentation in ALERT IIS; please ask such students for more information, e.g., dates, brand and location of vaccination. Questions can be directed to the ALERT IIS Help Desk at 1-800-980-9431.