Meningococcal Infections at University of Oregon, March 2015– update
Meningococcal disease typically infects a few people a year in Oregon with rare fatalities. This is a bacterial infection that usually progresses rapidly with fever, malaise, body and muscle aches, and a rash that often becomes petechial or purpuric (broken blood vessels and non-blanching). Since this infection can progress to severe blood infection (sepsis), brain infections (meningitis), and can result in respiratory failure and death in a 12-48 hour period of time, this is one infection you don’t wait until morning to get to the office, urgent care, or emergency room.
We have had a vaccine (Menveo or Menactra) that we typically give starting at age 11. These vaccines cover the main strains of meningococcus but not type B that is most prevalent in Oregon and is the type that has been at the University of Oregon (U of O).
The outbreak at U of O this year has resulted in 5 confirmed cases as of the time of this writing (March 16th. 2015) with one death. All cases have been type B. Thankfully, there are now two vaccines that cover type B meningococcus available. U of O and the Oregon Health Department is recommending all U of O students, and any students living in the 13th & Olive apartments (Capstone buildings) get the meningococcal type B vaccine. The pharmacies around U of O can give these vaccines and other pharmacies in the state can order them if given notice.
Our office now has the Trumenba (type B meningococcal) vaccine. This is my preferred one of the two since it has less aluminum compared with the other one (Bexsero) that has more aluminum.
Trumenba is given on day 1, then 2 months later, and then 6 months after the first dose. Bexero is given on day 1 then at least a month later.
If you have a child attending U of O, I highly recommend they get one of these vaccines as soon as possible. If you have past aluminum/adjuvant concerns, then discuss this with your physician (me if I am your doctor).
You can read more about these two vaccines at the Oregon Health Authority Immunization Program found here…