No increased meningitis B risk at Princeton

The risk of meningitis B at Princeton University is now considered the same as at any other university, Princeton officials learned during recent consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC officials indicated that the risk level was reduced due to the passage of time since the last case.

Ninety-eight percent of Princeton undergraduates have received at least one dose of the meningitis B vaccine and there have been no cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease occurring on campus or affecting Princeton students since November 2013.

Princeton has worked closely with the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) to stop the spread of the disease. The University undertook a comprehensive effort involving numerous campus offices, student organizations and public health agencies to limit the illness and encourage students to get vaccinated.

"The state Department of Heath would like to congratulate the entire Princeton University community— staff, students and parents — for your response to this significant challenge, for the education efforts you put in place, and for the high vaccination rate you achieved," said New Jersey Commissioner of Health Mary O'Dowd.

Beginning in December 2013, the University offered free meningitis B vaccines to undergraduates, certain graduate students and University community members with specific medical conditions. The Student Health Advisory Board's poster and video campaign motivated fellow students to get vaccinated, and Outdoor Action and Community Action leaders helped freshmen attend vaccine clinics during orientation.

Eligible individuals may still receive a free vaccine at University Health Services through the end of this academic year.

For the upcoming 2015-16 academic year, the University strongly recommends that all incoming students receive the meningitis B vaccine through their personal physician prior to arriving on campus. The vaccine also will be available at University Health Services. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now officially approved two meningitis B vaccines for individuals 10 to 25 years old. Meningitis B is not included in the typical meningitis vaccine that is required for teenagers in the U.S. and specifically required by the state for college enrollment in New Jersey.

Beginning in March 2013 a total of nine cases of meningitis B were associated with the University.