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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Aug;57(3):344-8. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit243. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Prolonged university outbreak of meningococcal disease associated with a serogroup B strain rarely seen in the United States.

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Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, MS C-25, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.



College students living in residential halls are at increased risk of meningococcal disease. Unlike that for serogroups prevented by quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines, public health response to outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease is limited by lack of a US licensed vaccine.


In March 2010, we investigated a prolonged outbreak of serogroup B disease associated with a university. In addition to case ascertainment, molecular typing of isolates was performed to characterize the outbreak. We conducted a matched case-control study to examine risk factors for serogroup B disease. Five controls per case, matched by college year, were randomly selected. Participants completed a risk factor questionnaire. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression.


Between January 2008 and November 2010, we identified 13 meningococcal disease cases (7 confirmed, 4 probable, and 2 suspected) involving 10 university students and 3 university-linked persons. One student died. Ten cases were determined to be serogroup B. Isolates from 6 confirmed cases had an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern and belonged to sequence type 269, clonal complex 269. Factors significantly associated with disease were Greek society membership (matched odds ratio [mOR], 15.0; P = .03), >1 kissing partner (mOR, 13.66; P = .03), and attending bars (mOR, 8.06; P = .04).


The outbreak was associated with a novel serogroup B strain (CC269) and risk factors were indicative of increased social mixing. Control measures were appropriate but limited by lack of vaccine. Understanding serogroup B transmission in college and other settings will help inform use of serogroup B vaccines currently under consideration for licensure.


meningococcal disease; outbreak; risk factors; serogroup B; university

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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