Provider Alert: Update on Meningococcal Outbreak in UCSB Students
Paige Batson, MA, PHN, RN Manager
Charity Thoman, MD, MPH Deputy Health Officer
This alert is to update medical providers on the outbreak of Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) in undergraduate students at UCSB, including new guidance from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) in identifying possible cases.
A fourth case of IMD was recently confirmed. The symptom onset for the four cases was November 11, 13, 18, and 21. All cases are undergraduate students (freshmen and sophomores) at UCSB, and all are serogroup B. Note that serogroup B is not covered by the meningococcal vaccine currently used in the United States.
Through our contact investigation we have identified and provided prophylaxis for over 500 students who were close contacts to the index cases. Because the majority of these are members of Greek organizations, we have advised UCSB to suspend organized social events in the Greek community through the month of December. We continue to provide antibiotic prophylaxis (Ciprofloxacin 500 mg orally in a single dose) to contacts as appropriate. Note that this chemoprophylaxis is given in an effort to prevent a person from carrying the bacterium N. meningitidis in their pharyngeal flora; it is only effective for 1-2 days. Thus, if a person is re-exposed to a second case of IMD, they should receive a second dose of chemoprophylaxis. This is being administered by UCSB and the SBCPHD.
At this time, and based on our ongoing epidemiologic investigation, we do not believe the Santa Barbara community at-large is at any increased risk of contracting IMD. We are not recommending mass chemoprophylaxis for either UCSB students or the community.
We continue to communicate daily with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and these discussion have included the possibility of obtaining an investigational vaccine that helps protect against serogroup B. Access to this vaccine for UCSB students is being carefully reviewed by the CDC, and will be based on the particular circumstances of the outbreak. At this time, the vaccine is not available for our use.