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Monday, November 18, 2013

Meningitis Outbreak at Princeton University

Following the 7th confirmed case of _Neisseria meningitidis_ [serogroup] B infection at Princeton University since March 2013, the school is considering the use of a European Union/Australia-approved vaccine that will protect against this strain of the potentially lethal infection.
CBS New York reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has offered the school to use the Novartis vaccine, Bexsero. The CDC has been working with the Food and Drug Administration about gaining access to this particular vaccine, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds told CNN. "We just got the approval from FDA this week to import the vaccine under the Investigational New Drug Application program," Reynolds said, "Now we're consulting with the Princeton University officials and New Jersey Health Department officials about the next step."
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by a bacteria called _N. meningitidis_ that can infect the lining of the brain and spinal cord. There are a few different types or strains of _N. meningitidis_. In the US, types B, C and Y cause the majority of disease.
Currently, there are 2 vaccines in the United States, meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune), and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra and Menveo), that protect against _N. meningitidis_. However, they only protect against _N. meningitidis_ serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. There is currently no licensed vaccine that protects against serogroup B in the U.S.
As Reynolds points out in the CNN interview, the Princeton situation is "unique" as it's the 1st time there has been an outbreak in a population where we have an option to control the outbreak using the serogroup B vaccine.
source ProMED-mail

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