The National Meningitis Association (NMA) encouraged policymakers on Friday to license two vaccines for meningococcal disease and recommended routine vaccination for all adolescents.
The NMA made the announcement after a student at Georgetown University died from serogroup B meningococcal disease. Outbreaks of serogroup B disease were reported in late 2013 and early 2014 at Princeton University and the University of California Santa Barbara.
The recent outbreaks of serogroup B disease on college campuses prompted a collaborative public health effort to help students with a vaccine not yet licensed in the U.S. Progress was made in recent months, and two vaccines for serogroup B disease are now in priority review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The NMA said that parents and healthcare professionals should be knowledgeable about the impact meningococcal disease and vaccination options. The organization also recommended that a serogroup B disease vaccination be available for children, whether or not they are at increased risk, from their healthcare providers.
While meningococcal disease affects individuals of all ages, adolescents and young adults are at increased risk. Vaccines are available for the A, C, Y and W-135 strains of the disease, but they do not prevent serogroup B disease, which accounts for one third of cases in the U.S.