Pediatrician - New Port Richey
2044 Trinity Oaks Boulevard Suite 235
New Port Richey, FL 34655
(727) 375-5437

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By Sheridan Hernandez MD
May 25, 2016
Category: infants
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In March of 2014 there was an outbreak of type B meningitis at Princeton University. Seven students were infected. One student, unaware of having being colonized by the deadly bacteria, visited a friend at Drexel University. Her name was Stephanie Ross and she was a sophomore. Shortly after the visit with her friend, Stephanie was found unresponsive by her sorority sisters. She later died as a result of type B meningitis.

In 2015 there was an outbreak of type B meningitis at the University of Oregon. This outbreak resulted in the death of an 18 year old girl by the name of Lauren Jones.

There were, in fact, outbreaks of type B meningitis at 5 colleges from March 2013 to February 2016. One infected student had to have both feet amputated, others had permanent neurological deficits that resulted from the infection.

There are five major serogroups of meningococcal disease: A C W Y and B. Type B accounts for one third of the infections in the US, but is now the leading cause of the disease in adolescents. The symptoms of Type B meningitis are the same as the other types, starting with fever,  flu like symptoms and quickly progressing to signs of serious illness such as lethargy, severe headache, stiff neck and sometimes a strange rash that looks like little blood clots in the skin.

At the time of these outbreaks of type B meningitis, we already standardly vaccinated children before college against types types A C W and Y, but there was not a US approved vaccine for type B.

Fortunately, in response to these college outbreaks, there are now two vaccines available to protect our children from this sometimes deadly and always terrifying illness. At our office we use a vaccine called Trumenba. It is recommended to be given to young people between the ages of 16 and 23, although it is approved for children from 10 to 25 years of age.

Initially, it was felt necessary to give 3 injections to acquire immunity. We now know that 2 vaccines, 6 months apart, is sufficient.

This is a life saving vaccine and is covered on all insurances. Both of my college aged children have been vaccinated and I am so grateful that they are protected against this disease. 

When your adolescent kids come for a visit, please ask us about the type B meningitis vaccine. It could save your precious child's life.

All the best to all our wonderful patients out there. Stay well and stay safe!

Dr. Sheridan Hernandez

 

 
 

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