Case of meningococcal disease conrmed at OSU Corvallis campus

Lauren Sluss, Editor-in-Chief

Student Health Services offer, recommend immunizations to prevent spread 

A singular case of meningococcal disease has been confirmed at the Oregon State University Corvallis campus, according to an all-students email sent Friday, Oct. 27.

According to the email, testing is under- way to determine the disease strain and is expected to be completed early next week.

“Please be aware that meningococcal dis- ease is uncommon, but it is a serious disease,” the email stated.

Meningococcal is a serious and potentially fatal disease, according to Student Health Services’ informational website. The infec- tion most often causes severe swelling of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord, or a serious blood infection.

Last academic year, three cases of the B strain meningococcal disease were reported among OSU students, causing OSU students to still be considered at a somewhat elevated risk, according to the email.

Because of this, all OSU Corvallis campus undergraduate students under the age of 25 are advised to be vaccinated against B strain meningococcal disease, the email stated.

“The best way to get this outbreak under control is for all students who are at risk, especially those living in residence halls and other group housing, such as fraternities and sororities, be fully vaccinated with both vaccines,” Jeff Mull, medical director at SHS, said in an email.

SHS carries the quadrivalent vaccine (Types A,C, Y and W) to fight meningococ- cal. In addition to this, SHS carries a new Type B vaccine called Bexsero, which is a two-dose series given one month apart. The vaccine costs $235 per dose. Students cur- rently enrolled at OSU may come to SHS to receive the vaccination.

The SHS webpage advises students to check with their insurance company to see if the cost will be covered, as well as to inform the insurer that OSU is in an outbreak situation for Meningitis B. In many cases, this will require them to cover the cost of immunizations fully.

Beginning fall term 2017, every new incoming student was required to be fully immunized for meningococcal B. This requirement will continue until there has been a full year without a reported case.

Although this new implementation is working to prevent any cases, this new requirement takes time to be fully effective, according to Mull.

“We were hoping we would have no cases this year, but it takes a while to get everyone immunized,” Mull said in an email. “Since we know this bacteria is circulating in our stu- dent population, it was not unexpected to get additional cases.”

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include a fever, rash, severe headache, severe body aches, nausea and/or vomiting, feeling drowsy or weak, a stiff neck or confusion.

“If you are experiencing these symptoms, please immediately visit your primary care physician or a nearby urgent care medi- cal clinic or emergency room,” the email stated. “OSU students experiencing these symptoms should visit OSU Student Health Services in Plageman Hall, which is located at 108 S.W. Memorial Place.”

For further information, students can visit the SHS meningococcal disease webpage. Students can also call the OSU Student Health Services Nurse advice line at (541) 737-2724 or Benton County Health Department com- municable disease nurses at 541-766-6835.