Meningitis Update: Universities Do Everything Possible to Limit Outbreak

meningitisPrinceton University and UC Santa Barbara have both been in the thick of the meningitis outbreak. College campuses offer the perfect environment for this contagious disease to grow. As a recent meningitis update, the two universities are doing everything they possibly can to limit the outbreak even further.

So far, the college officials have struggled to contain the infection. Eight Princeton students and four from the University of California-Santa Barbara have been hospitalized with the bacterial strain. Both colleges have different strains, with Princeton students being infected with one that meningitis vaccines do not protect against. The four Santa Barbara students fell ill within a month of each other, while it took longer for all Princeton cases to come to light.

As part of the attempts to curb the outbreak, Princeton University has asked for a vaccine not currently licensed in the United States to be used. The vaccine, which is used in Europe and Australia, has been approved by FDA officials, but only for students on the Princeton campus. This is a very rare approval and shows how much of a concern the outbreak is becoming. Students will start to receive the vaccine from next week.

Students, parents and staff may worry about the unlicensed vaccine. To help curb worries and ensure students are protected, the Ivy League university will be holding open forums involving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Students and staff are invited to these open forums to ask questions about the vaccine and the disease.

However, the two universities continue to do everything possible to limit the outbreak, according to the latest meningitis update. After hearing of a Santa Barbara lacrosse player who has had to have his feet amputated, the college has suspended all social activities. Close quarters and surroundings cause the bacterial form of the illness to spread quickly. The level of cleaning in the residential and recreational halls has also been increased to help bring an end to the spread.

The freshman lacrosse player, Aaron Loy, is the latest to be infected with the disease. The 18-year-old is still in hospital, and is recovering from the amputation of both feet the best he can. The surgery was the only option to make sure he lived after the blood flow to his legs was compromised. Loy only went to hospital because his friends realized just how serious his condition was and took him to the emergency room.

The possible 300 students who came into contact with Loy and the three other Santa Barbara students have been given antibiotics, just in case they have been infected. It can be passed through prolonged contact, but kissing and coughing are the most common methods. It is important for all students to look out for the common symptoms of fever, vomiting and nausea, headaches, and a stiff neck.

The recent update shows the universities continue to do everything possible to help limit this meningitis outbreak. The unlicensed vaccine will be available to Princeton students from December 9, while fraternity parties and social events will remain on-hold at UC Santa Barbara until further notice.

By Alexandria Ingham

The Washington Post

The Global Dispatch

U-T Santa Barbara

USA Today

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