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San Diego State University

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Vaccination Efforts Continue in Meningococcal B Outbreak

Multiple-dose immunizations best way to protect students from potentially fatal disease.

Nov. 8, 2018

By Erik Good

The university is continuing its efforts to support the health and safety of the San Diego State University community after three students were diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis (MenB) in a 3 ½ month period. Given the number of cases in a short time period, San Diego County Public Health Services determined this to be an outbreak.

discuss the importance of getting vaccinated for menbSince the outbreak was announced in late September, the university, in partnership with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, has vaccinated thousands of students. In addition to the many students who participated in one of the university facilitated vaccination clinics, there were many others who went to their health-care provider or a local pharmacy for the MenB vaccine – an important step that recognizes the serious nature of the disease and helps ensure their health and safety.

Since immunization is the most effective measure to protect against MenB, the university and county Public Health officials are asking all undergraduate students 23 years of age and younger to get vaccinated.

The potentially fatal MenB is spread through close contact with those who are ill through the exchange of saliva or bodily fluids. A small percentage of the population carry the bacteria in their nasal cavities without any symptoms.

MenB is life-threatening. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical because the disease progresses rapidly and can be fatal in as few as 12 hours. Symptoms often resemble influenza and may include a high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. Some students have been confused about whether they have been vaccinated against MenB because there are several serogroups of meningococcal disease and two different vaccines to prevent against meningococcus B, the serogroup that has caused the outbreak at SDSU.

Please review your immunization record or call your health-care provider to ensure they have one of the effective vaccines for MenB, which are Trumenba and Bexsero. These are relatively new, approved by the FDA in 2014 and 2015, and many of our students did not receive them while in high school.

If your immunization record shows Menveo or Menactra associated with a meningococcal meningitis vaccine, this does not protect you against meningococcus B.

If you have not been immunized against MenB, you should:

  • promptly contact your health-care provider to explore MenB vaccination options.
  • contact a local pharmacy to receive the vaccine (make sure you call ahead to check that the MenB vaccine is available and your insurance is accepted).
  • or make a daytime appointment for a free immunization at Calpulli Center by calling SHS at 619-594-4325 or by going online to healtheconnect.sdsu.edu.

Additionally, through Nov. 29, Student Health Services is hosting an after-hours walk-in clinic for a free vaccination at the Calpulli Center from 4:30 - 6 p.m., Monday - Thursday, excluding holidays. These vaccinations are free.

 

Multiple Doses

Both MenB vaccines require multiple doses. Bexsero requires two doses to be fully effective, while Trumenba requires three. A minimum of one month between doses is required. Students who received their first dose at one of the on-campus clinics should be thinking about their second dose during the month of November. You are not fully protected without the follow-up dose.

Students can see their health-care provider or go to a pharmacy for the second or third MenB dose – depending upon which vaccine they’ve received. If there are questions about how to access the vaccine or from students who do not have health insurance and cannot afford the second dose, contact Well-being & Health Promotion at 619-594-4133.