Rutgers urges students to get meningitis vaccinations

2 students from New Brunswick campus hospitalized last month
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (WPVI) -- Rutgers, New Jersey's state university, is urging students to get vaccinations due to a likely outbreak of bacterial meningitis.

Two Rutgers-New Brunswick students were hospitalized in February after they were diagnosed with the infection.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom says that while officials can't predict whether there will be new cases, tests from the two previous cases suggest there is an outbreak.

The university is recommending vaccinations against meningitis type B for all undergraduates and graduates who live in undergraduate residence halls.

Thirty-seven states require college students to be vaccinated for meningitis types A, C, W, and Y, but only 2 percent of schools require vaccinations for the B serogroup.

Two vaccines for that group have been licensed by the FDA.

On December 3, 2018, a New Jersey State committee approved Assembly Bill 1991, which requires residential students at four-year colleges receive vaccinations that provide protection from meningitis serogroup B.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The bacteria that cause the infection can spread through kissing, coughing and sharing beverages.

Signs and symptoms of infection include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash.

The best prevention against meningitis is vaccination, washing your hands often, and not sharing drinks, utensils, or other items such as E-cigarettes.
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