Two Meningitis Cases At Rutgers Might Mean Outbreak

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NEW BRUNSWICK – Rutgers University New Brunswick is warning students and faculty of a potential meningitis outbreak associated with the campus.

The university posted a status on its website, stating: “Two undergraduate students at Rutgers University – New Brunswick were recently diagnosed with serogroup B meningococcal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) performed special tests on the specimens from the two cases; the tests showed that the typing genes tested were identical between the two organisms.”

Rutgers officials did not mention any additional cases of the disease, but are considering the possibility of an outbreak after “having two cases occurring over a short time with genetically related organisms.”

New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Rutgers University officials are urging individuals to get the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (MenB) to protect against infection. They strongly recommend the following get vaccinated:

  • All current and incoming undergraduate students including transfer students, regardless of whether they live in campus housing
  • Graduate students who live in undergraduate residence halls
  • All members of the Rutgers University – New Brunswick community with medical conditions that put them at increased risk for meningococcal disease. These conditions include all functional and anatomic asplenia (including sickle cell disease), persistent complement component deficiencies (C3, C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D), and taking Soliris (eculizumab).
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria.

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but dangerous disease with symptoms that resemble the flu including: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and rash.

Officials warn that if you have any doubts about your symptoms, see a doctor.

“Early diagnosis and treatment is important because meningococcal disease can be deadly within hours or days of getting sick. It can also lead to severe disabilities, such as loss of limbs,” stated the university.

Rutgers is refraining from cancelling any events or activities and stated that there is no reason for the public to avoid the campus.