Smith College student has same meningitis strain as UMass outbreak

Staff Writer
Published: 3/2/2018 11:06:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Friday that the Smith College student hospitalized with bacterial meningitis was infected with serogroup B.

That’s the same strain as last fall’s outbreak at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, though it is unknown whether the cases are related, Smith College spokeswoman Stacey Schmeidel said in an email.

“It is important to note that we have been proceeding since last Sunday under the assumption that the Smith student was infected with serogroup B bacterial meningitis; the confirmation from the CDC does not change our plans,” the college said in a press release to students, faculty and staff Friday evening.

According to the release, Smith has administered over 700 meningitis B vaccines since the CDC declared an outbreak at UMass Amherst last fall, including 400 vaccinations administered at the Campus Center during a clinic on Thursday.

In December, over 7,000 UMass Amherst students received meningitis B vaccinations after two students contracted the bacterial infection, enough to constitute an outbreak.

Smith College will hold a second vaccination clinic at the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness, scheduled by appointment, on Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Faculty and staff members are not considered at risk for meningitis transmission,” Smith’s release said. “We recommend, however, that any employees who wish to get vaccinated contact their primary care provider.”

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com
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