NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University this afternoon announced that it is urging students to get a vaccination against meningitis following a state Department of Health decision to declare an outbreak of the disease because of two cases on campus this winter.
"To protect the student population, we are strongly recommending that all Rutgers–New Brunswick undergraduate students and graduate students who live in undergraduate residence halls become vaccinated against meningitis type B," university officials said in a statement released shortly after 5 p.m.
"The New Jersey Department of Health declared an outbreak of meningitis B at Rutgers-New Brunswick because two students were diagnosed last month with versions of the bacterium in which the typing genes tested by the Department were identical," the university said. They said no additional cases have been reported.
Rutgers officials said "students’ health, safety, and well-being are our highest priority. Immunization is the best protection against this disease."
In the statement, officials said that students should be aware that even if they received the mandatory vaccination for on-campus students - which protects against types A, C, W and Y of the bacteria - they are not protected against type B, which is the bacterium involved in this outbreak.
Rutgers students on the New Brunswick campus can receive the meningitis B vaccine at the Student Health Centers, and on-campus clinics and their local health care provider or pharmacy.
One student was diagnosed with meningitis on Feb. 4, and a second student was hospitalized with the disease on Feb. 23.
Rutgers officials said further information is available at health.rutgers.edu/meningitis.