Calif. college students to get imported meningitis vaccine

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Health officials say they’ll soon offer an imported vaccine to prevent more cases of potentially deadly bacterial meningitis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after last month's vaccination of more than 5,200 students at Princeton University.

Enough shots to cover about 20,000 students could be available at UCSB within several weeks, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. They’re aimed at halting an outbreak of meningitis strain B that sickened four California students in November, including one young man who had to have both feet amputated. No new cases have been reported on campus since Nov. 21.

Vaccines approved in the U.S. protect against four strains of bacterial meningitis — but they don’t cover meningitis B.

The imported vaccine, Bexsero, is approved in Europe, Australia and Canada, but not in the U.S. Federal health officials got emergency clearance to use it to inoculate the Princeton students in New Jersey last month after an outbreak of meningitis B that has sickened eight people since March.

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