Published On: Thu, Mar 13th, 2014

Meningococcal meningitis group B confirmed in Drexel University student fatality

In a follow-up to a  report Tuesday, Philadelphia health officials confirm that the strain of bacterial meningitis implicated in the death of Drexel University sophomore, 19-year-old Stephanie Ross was serogroup B, according to a CIDRAP News report today.

Image/Video Screen Shot

Image/Video Screen Shot

Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B is the same type seen in outbreaks at Princeton University in New Jersey and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Both universities got approval to vaccinate students with the unlicensed meningitis vaccine, Bexsero, which covers meningitis serogroup B. Vaccines licensed in the US does not cover this strain.

Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Five main groups of meningococcal bacteria (A, B, C, W-135 and Y) cause the majority of all cases around the world.

Currently, there are two vaccines in the United States ,meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune®), and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra® and Menveo®), that protect against Neisseria meningitidis.

However, they only protect against Neisseria meningitidis Serogroups A, C, Y and W-135.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  the most common ones that cause disease in the United States are B, C, and Y. In 2012 there were about 500 total cases of meningococcal disease, and 160 of those cases were caused by serogroup B.

In 2013, the Novartis Bexsero vaccine was approved for use in the European Union and in Australia. The vaccine is the first to protect against MenB.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Princeton meningitis strain confirmed in Drexel fatal case - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] couple of days later, Philadelphia health officials confirmed that the strain of meningitis was serogroup B that was implicated in the tragic death of Ms. […]

  2. Your Name... says:

    The Meningitis Foundation of America offers extensive information regarding diagnosis, immunization, recovery and the after effects of meningitis. MFA survives primarily by donations. For the past 16 years, we have assisted people through support groups, resources and advocacy in efforts to help those affected with meningitis overcome and those around them understand the journey ahead. We promote prevention and safety measure in at risk communities and help explain the short term, long term effects and recovery treatments of meningitis to the media and public at large. Meningitis is a dangerous & often times fatal infection that can lead to serious life-long physical problems and even death. We are here to provide emotional support to those who need it; please feel free to reach out to us at http://www.musa.org.
    Caroline L. Petrie
    National Secretary
    Meningitis Foundation of America, Inc.
    World Meningitis Day 24 April

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