July 20, 2019 | 85° F

Email updates Rutgers about student meningitis case, recommends vaccinations


melodee-lasky-rutgers-edu
Photo by Rutgers.edu |

 Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor for Health and Wellness, said the vaccine routinely given to protect against meningococcal disease did not provide protection against the particular bacteria the student was infected with. 


An email update last Friday informed the Rutgers community about further details regarding the student meningitis case, as well as vaccinations that could prevent against the disease.

Last Wednesday, The Daily Targum reported that the student was hospitalized on Feb. 4, and was in recovery. 

After special tests were conducted, it was found that the bacteria that caused the meningococcal meningitis infection was part of serogroup B. As of when the email was sent, there were no additional cases of the disease associated with the University. 

While Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor for Health and Wellness, said in the email that while vaccination was one of the best methods of protection against the disease, the vaccine that is routinely given to prevent meningococcal disease did not provide protection against serogroup B. Instead, it only worked to protect against serogroups A, C, W and Y. 

Currently, there are only two licensed vaccines that protect specifically against serogroup B, though as short-term protection. One is Bexsero, which is given as two doses, one month apart. The other is Trumenba, which can either be given as two doses, six months apart or three doses in the span of six months. These vaccines, which Lasky said were "safe and effective," could be given to anyone in the age range of 16 to 23 years old, but were recommended for those who were between the ages of 16 and 18. 

The email also reiterated that individuals who had health concerns or experienced symptoms should visit their health provider, and reminded the University to maintain personal hygiene practices. 


Catherine Nguyen

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