Same Meningitis Strain Behind Drexel, Princeton Outbreaks
(HealthDay News) — The strain of bacterial meningitis that killed a Drexel University student earlier this month is the same strain behind a Princeton University outbreak last year, federal health officials said Tuesday. This suggests that the outbreak strain might still be present in the Princeton community and that the situation requires close monitoring, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After the Drexel student died March 10, the local health department identified people who had been in close contact with the student and gave them antibiotics to protect them from developing meningitis. So far, no further cases of meningitis have been reported among Drexel students. The investigation also revealed that the student had been in close contact with Princeton students about a week before becoming ill.
In response to last year's meningitis outbreak at Princeton, a vaccination program began on December 9. A large percentage of undergraduate and eligible graduate students received the recommended two doses of the investigational vaccine used for this "B" strain of meningitis, which is not yet approved in the United States. Since there is no outbreak at Drexel, the university community is not considered to be at increased risk and no vaccination program has been launched.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and determine next steps while local health authorities remain vigilant to recognizing and promptly treating any new cases," the agency said in a news release. "At this time, CDC does not recommend limiting social interactions or canceling travel plans as a preventive measure for meningococcal disease."