The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on March 5 issued an advisory to all health care providers in the state about the latest case of meningococcal disease diagnosed in a Smith College student. Testing confirmed that the student’s illness was caused by Serogroup B, the same invasive meningococcal disease diagnosed in two UMass Amherst students during fall semester. While the results of strain typing are not yet available, the Department of Health advises that this new case could be a continuation of the outbreak identified at UMass last fall.
As part of the advisory, the Department of Public Health is now highly recommending Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (MenB) for all undergraduate students, and those who live with them in college housing, at the Five Colleges.
To date, we have administered approximately 10,200 doses of Bexsero, the vaccine we are primarily using on campus.
We strongly urge you to come to one of the walk-in clinics this semester to continue the two-shot Bexsero vaccine series or to start the series. No appointment is necessary for these clinics. Please remember to bring your insurance card and any documentation of vaccination received at home. The upcoming clinics are:
Tuesday, March 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall East
Tuesday, March 20, 3-6 p.m., University Health Services Room 302
Wednesday, April 4, 11 a.m. -3 p.m., Campus Center Room 168
Wednesday, April 25, 3-6 p.m., University Health Services Room 302
Regularly updated information about meningococcal disease at UMass can be found at www.umass.edu/meningitis. If you have additional questions or concerns, you may contact the UHS triage nurse at 413-577-5229. If these clinics do not fit into your schedule, you can call UHS at 413-577-5101 to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
It is very important to remember these health smart tips to prevent the spread of disease as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Do not share anything that comes in contact with the mouth – water bottles, face masks, towels, drinking glasses or cups, eating utensils, cosmetics, lip balm, toothbrushes, smoking materials, kisses, or drinks from a common source.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.
Thank you in advance for your full participation and cooperation. We appreciate you taking the steps required to keep our campus a safe and healthy place.
George A. Corey, M.D.
University Health Services