Rare Meningitis Strain Discovered Kills Drexel Student


Princeton University continues to guard against a rare strain of meningitis that sickened several people on the campus last year and killed a Drexel University student in early March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the strain may not have been eradicated at Princeton — even though 95 percent of those eligible got at least one dose of vaccine, and about 80 percent received the recommended two doses, administered in December and February.

Drexel University Student Dies of Meningitis

Drexel University student Stephanie Ross of Pittsburgh died March 10 from the “serogroup B” strain of bacterial meningitis, according to a CDC report. She had been in close contact with Princeton students visiting Drexel in Philadelphia a week before her death. To date, no related cases among Drexel University students have been reported, so members of the Drexel community are not considered to be at increased risk, the report said.

FDA Gives Princeton Special Approval to Offer Vaccinations to Students

Princeton University wrapped up a four-day meningitis B vaccination clinic in February, providing more than 4,400 individuals with a booster shot intended to prevent the spread of the disease. Last year, seven Princeton University students and a campus visitor contracted meningitis B, which causes flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, vomiting, rashes and sensitivity to light.

The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC gave special approval for use of the Bexsero vaccine, which is not otherwise approved for use in the United States, to be used at Princeton. State law requires all New Jersey students living on campus to receive a meningitis vaccination, but that one does not protect against the B strain, which is common in Europe and Australia but rare in the United States.

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