Dear Campus Community,
This message is to alert members of the University community that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a case of bacterial meningitis in a Monmouth University student. Preliminary testing conducted at the CDC has come back positive for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup (type) B. These bacteria cause meningococcal disease.
The student, who first became ill on November 15, is receiving treatment at a local hospital and is recovering.
The University is coordinating its response with regional and state health officials. Those who had close contact with the student are being notified so they can receive antibiotics as a prophylactic (preventative) measure. Most of these close contacts have already been notified.
Once diagnosed, meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important. Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease could include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. If you feel ill you should seek care of a medical provider, do not wait until you return to campus after the Thanksgiving break. Let your provider know about the recent case of meningitis on campus.
Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
Meningococcal disease is contagious, but generally is transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing and being in close proximity for an extended period. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are as contagious as the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.
Vaccination is the best protection against meningococcal disease. The vaccine routinely given to protect against meningococcal disease only protects against four serogroups (types) — A, C, Y and W. There are currently 2 recently licensed vaccines against serogroup B. These safe and effective vaccines may be given to anyone 16 through 23 years old to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease; 16 through 18 years are the preferred ages for vaccination. You should contact your healthcare provider to discuss vaccination against serogroup B.
The recommended schedule depends on which vaccine you get:
- Bexsero® is given as 2 doses, at least 1 month apart.
- Trumenba® is given as 3 doses, with the second dose 2 months after the first and the third dose 6 months after the first.
Monmouth University Health Services is encouraging members of the University community to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices such as good handwashing, covering coughs and avoiding sharing drinks or utensils with others.
Members of the University community who experience symptoms or have health concerns may visit their health care provider or Monmouth University Health Services. Health Center hours this week are Monday and Tuesday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Health Center will be closed November 26 through November 29 and will reopen on Monday, November 30.
More information about meningococcal disease is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site (www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/) or at New Jersey Department of Health web site (nj.gov/health/cd/meningo/geneinfo.shtml).
Mary Anne Nagy,
Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement