6th case confirmed in Oregon State University meningococcal disease outbreak

Health officials on Wednesday confirmed another case of meningococcal disease in a student at Oregon State University in Corvallis, marking the third such case confirmed among students in the last month and the sixth case identified at the university in 2017.

The most recent case occurred in a 21-year-old who was hospitalized with meningitis on Dec. 17. In light of this most recent case, the university is now requiring all students under the age of 25 be vaccinated for meningococcal B disease by Feb. 15. Before the sixth case, vaccination was encouraged for all students under 25, but mandatory for all first-year students.

"We ask that healthcare providers consider meningococcal disease in their diagnosis when college students, particularly those with links to OSU, show up with unexplained high fever, headache, stiff neck or rash, and report any suspected cases promptly to their local public health department," said Paul Cieslak, MD, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division.

Infection with the bacteria can cause meningococcal disease, which first presents as a flu-like illness before rapidly worsening. The illness can cause infections of the brain or spinal cord (meningitis) and infections of the blood (septicemia). The five other students infected this year received treatment for the infection and have recovered.

To learn more about meningococcal disease, click here.

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