Pediatrics publishes study by CDC authors finding that college students are more likely than their nonstudent peers to contract meningococcal disease
The journal Pediatrics published a study by CDC authors finding that college students are more likely than their nonstudent peers to contract meningococcal disease. The study, titled Meningococcal Disease Among College-Aged Young Adults: 2014–2016, by S.A. Mbaeyi, et al., appeared in the January issue. The abstract is reprinted below.
Background: Freshman college students living in residence halls have previously been identified as being at an increased risk for meningococcal disease. In this evaluation, we assess the incidence and characteristics of meningococcal disease in college-aged young adults in the United States.
Methods: The incidence and relative risk (RR) of meningococcal disease among college students compared with noncollege students aged 18 to 24 years during 2014–2016 were calculated by using data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and enhanced meningococcal disease surveillance. Differences in demographic characteristics and clinical features of meningococcal disease cases were assessed. Available meningococcal isolates were characterized by using slide agglutination, polymerase chain reaction, and whole genome sequencing.
Results: From 2014 to 2016, 166 cases of meningococcal disease occurred in persons aged 18 to 24 years, with an average annual incidence of 0.17 cases per 100000 population. Six serogroup B outbreaks were identified on college campuses, accounting for 31.7% of serogroup B cases in college students during this period. The RR of serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) disease in college students versus noncollege students was 3.54 (95% confidence interval: 2.21–5.41), and the RR of serogroups C, W, and Y combined was 0.56 (95% confidence interval: 0.27–1.14). The most common serogroup B clonal complexes identified were CC32/ET-5 and CC41/44 lineage 3.
Conclusions: Although the incidence is low, among 18- to 24-year-olds, college students are at an increased risk for sporadic and outbreak-associated MenB disease. Providers, college students, and parents should be aware of the availability of MenB vaccines.
Access the full text: Meningococcal Disease Among College-Aged Young Adults: 2014–2016.
Access the video abstract, presented by CDC medical epidemiologist and lead study author, Sarah Mbaeyi, MD, as well as the entire study in HTML format.
- NBC News: College students most at risk of deadly meningitis B infection, report finds (12/31/18)
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