Princeton Meningitis Outbreak Spurs Emergency Import Of Vaccine

Following the 7th confirmed case of  Neisseria meningitidis [serogroup] B infection at Princeton University since March 2013, the school is considering the use of a European Union/Australia-approved vaccine that will protect against this strain of the potentially lethal infection.

CBS New York reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has offered the school to use the Novartis vaccine, Bexsero. The CDC has been working with the Food and Drug Administration about gaining access to this particular vaccine, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds told CNN. “We just got the approval from FDA this week to import the vaccine under the Investigational New Drug Application program,” Reynolds said, “Now we’re consulting with the Princeton University officials and New Jersey Health Department officials about the next step.”

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by a bacteria called  N. meningitidis that can infect the lining of the brain and spinal cord. There are a few different types or strains of  N. meningitidis. In the US, types B, C and Y cause the majority of disease.

As Reynolds points out in the CNN interview, the Princeton situation is “unique” as it’s the 1st time there has been an outbreak in a population where we have an option to control the outbreak using the serogroup B vaccine.

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