TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Princeton University responds to meningococcal outbreak

Princeton University announced on Monday that it will run an immunization campaign against meningococcal disease in response to a recent outbreak at the university.

The outbreak response includes the use of Bexsero meningococcal B vaccine, a vaccine which has not been approved for use in the U.S., but is approved for use in the European Union and Australia. The National Meningitis Association supports Princeton in its decision to run the immunization campaign to help protect persons at-risk for infection.

Meningococcal disease, also known as bacterial meningitis, is a highly dangerous disease that can cause disability or death within hours of infection. Persons of all ages are at risk.

Symptoms of a meningococcal infection include fever, headache and achiness. More severe symptoms include rash, stiff neck and pain when looking at brightly lit surfaces.

Vaccines are considered the best method of protection against infection. In the U.S., vaccines against meningococcal are part of routine immunizations for kids at the ages of 11-12 and 16.

Meningococcal vaccines approved for use in the U.S. protect against four strains of meningococcal disease, including strains A, Y, C and W-135. The vaccines do not, however, protect against strain B, which is responsible for the current outbreak at Princeton.