UCSD Officials Warn Students of SDSU Meningitis Outbreak

Photo courtesy of Jay Galvin. Link to photo license.

The office of Student Health and Well-Being at UC San Diego notified all students of a meningococcal disease outbreak at San Diego State University (SDSU) through an email sent on October 2.

According to San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the SDSU campus outbreak occurred within a three-and-a-half month period, with three reported cases of meningitis. The first case was diagnosed in June 2018 and the last case in late September.

In September, at least 1,840 SDSU students were given antibiotic medicine as a preventative measure. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that no connections were made between the three cases, and that none of the cases have been fatal.

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial illness that most commonly involves infection of the bloodstream or infection of the tissue lining the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. All meningococcal diseases are transferable through mouth and respiratory secretions, such as sharing drinks or kissing.

This recent outbreak was caused by the serogroup B bacterial strain, which requires a newer vaccine that differs from those of other serogroups. Individuals at the highest risk of contracting serogroup B meningococcal meningitis are between 16 and 23 years old.

According to the email, Student Health Services (SHS) has yet to be contacted by any UCSD student who has contracted the disease. Vaccines for serogroup B meningitis are not usually recommended, except for cases involving certain medical conditions or by the recommendation of the Public Health Department.

Currently, no recommendation has been given by the San Diego Public Health Department for vaccinating students at UCSD.

Cynthia Leung is a Staff Writer for The Triton.