Oregon State: All students 25 and younger must get meningococcal B vaccination
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State will require all students 25 and younger to be vaccinated for meningococcal B disease by Feb. 15 after the sixth case of meningococcal disease in a year.
Health officials said 10 to 15 percent of people who contract the disease die. Another 15 to 20 percent suffer long-term, life-changing health problems, health officials said.
So far, the previous five students to fall ill have made full recoveries. The sixth case is now being treated.
"Oregon State University takes the health and welfare of its students, employees and the general public very seriously," said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing. "Effective immediately, Oregon State University will require all of its Corvallis students 25 and younger to be vaccinated for meningococcal B disease by Feb. 15," he said. "Prior to this latest case, vaccinations were encouraged for all OSU students 25 years and under, but required for all incoming first-year students and transfer students."
"In light of the university's new vaccination requirement, most OSU students remain unvaccinated and their time over the holidays might be the best opportunity for them to be vaccinated," said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division.
The most recent case is a 21-year-old Oregon State undergraduate student in Corvallis. The student was hospitalized Dec. 17 with meningitis while visiting family members.
"We offer our thoughts, concern and wishes for a speedy and full recovery for this student and for their family," Clark said.
"State law requires health insurers to cover the cost of vaccines and antibiotics during an outbreak for enrollees 25 and younger, and who are attending or enrolled to attend OSU at the Corvallis campus," Oregon State said in a statement. "Students having trouble accessing vaccines due to insurance restrictions should call 888-877-4894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with patient advocates."
An outbreak of the disease at the University of Oregon in 2015 claimed the life of a student-athlete.