Calif. Seeks To Use Alternate Vaccine To Combat Meningitis Outbreak
On Thursday, California public health officials said they have asked CDC for permission to use a vaccine not approved in the U.S to combat an outbreak of meningitis at UC-Santa Barbara, Reuters reports (Bernstein, Reuters, 12/13).
Background on Outbreak
Last week, UC-Santa Barbara officials said four students had been diagnosed with a strain of meningococcal disease that does not respond to the meningitis vaccine currently approved for use in the U.S.
So far, one student has been left permanently disabled after having both feet amputated when the disease constricted the blood supply to his limbs.
The strain affecting the students is serogroup B, which is found less frequently in the U.S. than in other parts of the world. The meningitis vaccine approved for use in the U.S. does not treat serogroup B (California Healthline, 12/4).
Details of Alternate Vaccine
Following a meningitis outbreak at Princeton University last month, CDC officials agreed to allow that school to administer Bexsero, a vaccine approved in Europe that is used to treat serogroup B infections.
Tom Clark, head of meningitis surveillance at CDC, said blood samples of infected Princeton students are being tested at CDC's Atlanta headquarters to determine if the bacteria respond to Bexsero (California Healthline, 12/4).
Details of Call for Vaccine
On Thursday, Richard Olds -- dean of the UC-Riverside School of Medicine -- called for all schools within the University of California system to provide mandatory vaccinations to students, faculty and staff.
Olds said, "Let's hope we don't have to wait for every campus to have an outbreak before somebody decides to look at this as a larger issue."
Later that day, state health officials in an email announced that they had formally asked the government for permission to use the European vaccine (Reuters, 12/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.