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Published On: Tue, Mar 18th, 2014

Princeton meningitis strain confirmed in Drexel fatal case

Eight days ago, the community at Drexel University in Philadelphia was shocked by the sudden death of 19-year-old sophomore Stephanie Ross. At the time it was suspected that the cause of her dearth was bacterial meningitis.

Image/Video Screen Shot

Image/Video Screen Shot

A 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. Ross.

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), via laboratory analysis, revealed that the strain in Princeton University’s serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak matches the strain in the Drexel University case by “genetic fingerprinting”, according to a statement today.

This information suggests that the outbreak strain may still be present in the Princeton University community and we need to be vigilant for additional cases.

The public health investigation of the Drexel University student revealed that the student had been in close contact with students from Princeton University about a week before becoming ill. Princeton University has been experiencing a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak. 

To date, no related cases among Drexel University students have been reported.

Both Princeton and the University of California, Santa Barbara had reported meningitis B outbreaks and received special permission to administer the unlicensed vaccine, Bexsero to the student population.

The CDC says because Drexel University is not experiencing an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease, members of that community are not considered to be at increased risk.  The investigational serogroup B vaccine is not currently available to the Drexel University community. 

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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