Officials urging college students to get vaccinated after 3 students in Wisconsin hospitalized with meningitis B

Provided Photo
Provided Photo

INDIANA (WTHI) – After three University of Wisconsin-Madison students were hospitalized with meningitis B, officials are reminding college students to get the vaccine.

Meningitis B is a very serious and potentially fatal strain of meningococcal disease.

The meningitis B bacteria – a strain that accounts for 50 percent of meningococcal disease cases – is easily spread, making college campuses a prime target. Dorm living, shared bathrooms, crowded events, sharing food and drinks are all catalysts for spreading the bacteria.

Since the spring of 2013, meningitis B outbreaks have occurred on six major college campuses in the U.S.

Indiana State Law requires that all universities and colleges inform students of the risks associated with meningococcal disease and the benefits of vaccination. However, this required information does not specifically address the B strain of the disease. The vaccination specific for meningitis B has only been available since 2014, causing some confusion among parents and providers about its necessity given other meningitis vaccines.

For more information about meningitis B and the Beware of B campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the disease and the importance of the vaccination, visit www.vaccinateindiana.org/beware-of-b/. Anyone seeking immunization against meningitis B should be able to access the vaccine through their doctor or by visiting one of the following Walgreens stores in Indiana.