Meningitis Precursor Infects Fifth Oregon College Student

Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

On the heels of a 4-day mass vaccination clinic on campus to prevent the spread of meningococcemia, a fifth student at the University of Oregon was diagnosed with the bacterial precursor to meningitis.

On the heels of a 4-day mass vaccination clinic on campus to prevent the spread of meningococcemia, a fifth student at the University of Oregon (UO) was diagnosed with the bacterial precursor to meningitis.

The 19-year-old sophomore has the first confirmed case of the bacterial infection since fellow UO student Lauren Jones died from it on February 17, 2015.

In response to Jones’s death, the school offered mass vaccination clinics from March 2 to March 5, 2015. Students were able to receive the meningococcal B vaccine, Trumenba, on campus and at several nearby pharmacies.

UO announced in a statement on March 12, 2015, that students and faculty members were notified immediately after learning of the most recent case of meningococcemia. The school also notified the student’s fraternity and others who had attended social events with him recently.

The university said the student is hospitalized and responsive. Meanwhile, those who were in close contact with the student have been instructed on how to obtain an antibiotic that can help stop an infection, according to the school’s statement. The students’ 3 roommates have received the antibiotic treatment.

“It is important to note that those students who recently received the first dose of a vaccination series to protect against meningitis should still seek the antibiotic if they meet the criteria for close contact, as full immunity is not achieved until the final vaccination is received,” said Mike Eyster, executive director of the University Health Center and senior associate vice president for student life, in the statement.

The school reported that more than 8500 students have received the first dose of the meningococcal B vaccine over the past few weeks. Those living in residence halls, members of Greek life organizations, and first- and second-year students—all of whom may be more vulnerable to infection transmission—came out in significant numbers for the vaccinations.

“While thousands of students have participated in vaccination efforts, we have more work to do to encourage students to take preventive steps for their health, and everyone who received the first dose needs to complete the series of immunizations to be fully protected,” Eyster said in the statement.