Meningococcal Update: sixth case just announced at University of Oregon

Tablet with diagnosis meningitis and stethoscope

Since our previous post on meningococcal information on the blog, two new cases have surfaced at the University of Oregon - the most recent announced today. Now more than ever, consider getting the latest type B vaccines, and brush up on the facts. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Meningococcus?

Meningococcus is a type of bacteria living in the throat and nose of between 5-10% of adults. Though most instances do not lead to sickness, it can cause meningitis and other serious infections. Three subtypes (B, C, and Y) are responsible for most meningococcal disease in the United States. Type B has caused approximately 50% of the cases in Oregon.

How does it spread?

Meningococcus spreads by coughing, sneezing, or close personal contact, such as sharing drinks or kissing. It is less contagious than the common cold or flu.

I should seek medical attention if I…

Show signs of a fever along with severe headache, neck stiffness or rash. In some cases, meningococcal disease causes brain damage, deafness, paralysis and loss of fingers, toes, or limbs. About 10 percent of the cases are fatal.

The disease can progress quickly but can be cured with antibiotics if they are given promptly.

Get Vaccinated

As adolescents, we should have received a 4-strain Meningococcal vaccine. Recently developed type B-specific vaccines have been designed to COMPLIMENT the four strain shot we received years ago. Having both vaccines provides maximum protection. The two newly approved B strain vaccines are: 

  • Trumenba® is approved for use in people 10-25 years of age as a 3-dose series. 
  • Bexsero® is approved for use in people 10-25 years of age as a 2-dose series.

The University of Oregon and public health agencies are teaming up with Lane County pharmacies to make vaccination as readily accessible as possible. The University of Oregon Health Center’s vaccine page details participating pharmacy locations, insurance information and instructions when receiving the vaccine. The page will be updated as developments occur. 

Other links

PHD’s 2015 Meningococcal Update page
PHD’s Meningococcal Fact Sheet page 
UO Meningitis page

Posted on March 20, 2015 and filed under health care.