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Friday, October 22, 2021

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Additional Meningococcal Meningitis Case Confirmed; Vaccinations Recommended

San Diego County Public Health Services recommends vaccinations for all undergraduate students under 24 years of age who have not been immunized against meningococcus B.
By SDSU News Team
 

This semester, a second San Diego State University student has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis. In addition to preventative measures, the university is monitoring the case and asks the campus community to review the recommended treatment information, as well as a list of Frequently Asked Questions

The following message was sent to students, faculty and staff. 

On Sept. 27, San Diego County Public Health Services confirmed the diagnosis of an additional case of meningococcal meningitis at San Diego State University; the student is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital. County officials have confirmed that this case and the case confirmed in early September are both caused by serogroup B meningococcus. 

County public health officials on Thursday also disclosed a third confirmed case diagnosed in June. An SDSU student who was not attending classes and lived off campus was diagnosed with meningitis, also caused by the serogroup B strain. The county did not previously announce this case because there was no public health risk at the time. 

These three cases occurring in the SDSU undergraduate population in a 3.5-month period have been determined to be an outbreak by the San Diego County Public Health Officer. 

SDSU is continuing its partnership with county public health officials to monitor the outbreak. While SDSU has been active in an ongoing educational effort informing the campus community this fall about preventive vaccines and healthy habits, we are both continuing and expanding our encouragement of these means of prevention. 

San Diego County Public Health Services recommends that all undergraduate students under 24 years of age who have not been immunized against meningococcus B (MenB) are highly encouraged to get vaccinated with one of the two available meningococcal B vaccines (instructions are provided below). 

Also, please review FAQs online for details about meningitis, public health preventive measures and vaccination information: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/files/09386-Meningococcal-Meningitis-FAQs-09272018.pdf

Vaccinations

San Diego County Public Health Services and SDSU will partner to offer vaccine clinics for undergraduate students under the age of 24. Additional information about these clinics will be available early next week. In preparation, students are encouraged to locate and review their immunization records to determine their meningococcal B immunization status. 

Students who would like to be immunized immediately may access the vaccine through their primary healthcare provider (learn how via SDSU Well-Being and Health Promotion) or by visiting a local pharmacy. Students are encouraged to call the pharmacy in advance to confirm the vaccine is available and that their insurance is accepted. Students may also receive the vaccine at Student Health Services for a fee.

San Diego County Public Health Services currently does not recommend SDSU graduate students, faculty or staff receive the meningococcal vaccine, unless they are at increased risk, which the CDC defines online: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mening-serogroup.html

What are the symptoms and how is meningitis transmitted? 

The bacteria (meningococcus) can be transmitted by direct contact with oral secretions, through the air via sneeze or cough droplets of respiratory secretions, or even through speaking closely face-to-face. Oral contact includes sharing items, such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing.

The early symptoms usually associated with meningococcal meningitis include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy, and may resemble the flu. Because the disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as 12 hours, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical to recovery. 

You can learn more about meningococcal disease and vaccines by visiting the CDC meningococcal and Immunize.org websites: 

What else should I do? 

If you are feeling ill with the symptoms noted above, please seek evaluation at an emergency department. 

People spread meningococcal bacteria to others by exchanging respiratory and throat secretions during close or lengthy contact. Prevention of meningococcal infection includes both specific vaccines and behaviors that help prevent the spread of meningococcus and other infectious illnesses. The most effective form of prevention is vaccination. 

Also, all members of the campus community are encouraged to engage in healthy habits, which lower the risk of acquiring meningococcal meningitis and many other infections. Good health habits include: 
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Abstaining from smoking and being around smoking.
  • Not sharing cups and other utensils; food and beverages; or makeup and lip balm.
  • Eating healthy, nutritious foods and drinking plenty of fluids. 
  • Exercising, managing stress with healthy coping strategies and getting plenty of quality sleep. 
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or a sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing. 
Please engage in these good health habits, and also take proper rest and seek appropriate medical care when ill. If you have questions, call Student Health Services at 619-594-4325. As a reminder, Student Health Services offers a nurse advice hotline via 858-225-3105 after 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and on weekends and SDSU holidays.