County officials declare meningitis outbreak on SDSU campus

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SAN DIEGO -- County health officials declared a meningococcal meningitis outbreak at the SDSU campus after a second student was hospitalized this semester, it was announced Friday.

Officials say a male undergraduate student started having symptoms September 25. The California Department of Public Health confirmed the illness was caused by seragroup B meningococcus, which is the same bacteria that hospitalized a female undergraduate student this month.

Those who had close contact to the male student were identified and given antibiotics to prevent illness, officials confirmed.

Symptoms include fever, intense headache, lethargy, and stiff neck, according to health officials.

Over summer break, a third undergraduate student who lived off-campus also contracted the bacteria.

Officials recommend all students under the age of 24 who have not been immunized to get vaccinated with one of two meningococcal B vaccines.

“Although most students on the SDSU campus have been vaccinated as teenagers with a quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine, many have not gotten the serogroup B vaccine, which is needed to protect against the bacteria that has caused these recent illnesses,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “Meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, so we want anyone to be alert for symptoms and seek care should they occur."

Ten cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in San Diego County this year, the highest number reported since 2013, according to county health officials.

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