Tags: umass | amherst | meningitis | outbreak

UMass Amherst Meningitis Outbreak Declared

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By    |   Friday, 01 December 2017 08:51 AM

The University of Massachusetts Amherst stated that a meningitis outbreak has been declared on campus after two students were diagnosed with the disease in October and November.

The newspaper reported that one student who lives on campus tested positive for bacterial meningitis Nov. 12. Another tested positive in October for a strain of meningococcal illness not covered by the vaccine required for school attendance, the Boston Globe reported.

The university said in a statement this week that after testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was determined that the both students had the same strain of the meningococcal disease and it should be considered an outbreak.

"As a result, University Health Services is recommending that students at the highest risk receive serogroup B vaccinations at a series of four walk-in clinics during the next two weeks," the UMass statement read.

"Those at the highest risk include: all undergraduates, graduate students living in undergraduate housing, and all students with conditions such as asplenia, a complement deficiency, sickle cell anemia or those taking the medication Solaris. This includes both on-campus and off-campus students," the statement continued.

On Thursday, the university opened large-scale vaccination clinics in its student union running from noon to 6 p.m. The clinics will remain open through Tuesday, UMass announced.

"(University Health Services) also continues to advise the campus community to take health smart precautions," the university statement read. "Don't swap saliva. Avoid sharing food, drinks and personal items that contact saliva, including drinks from punch bowls. Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve. Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth — germs spread easily this way."

According to the CDC, bacterial meningitis caused about 4,100 cases and 500 deaths in the United States each year between 2003 and 2007. The agency stated that the bacteria can also be associated with another serious illness called sepsis.

Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death, according to the CDC's website.

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The University of Massachusetts Amherst stated that a meningitis outbreak has been declared on campus after two students were diagnosed with the disease in October and November.
umass, amherst, meningitis, outbreak
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2017-51-01
Friday, 01 December 2017 08:51 AM
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