Meningitis at UMASS
There have been 2 cases of bacterial meningitis at UMASS Amherst. One is the B strain; the other has not been typed yet. There also is no known interaction between the 2 students. The Dept. of Health and the CDC are actively investigating. Currently this is not considered an outbreak. Only close contacts are at risk—the sharing of saliva such as shared drinks, lip balms, kissing etc…—casual contact does NOT increase risk of contagion.
If a patient believes they have had close contact, the UMASS University Health services are giving an antibiotic preventive treatment for UMASS people. Someone who is not affiliated with UMASS and feels that they have had close contact with an infected patient must make an appointment with us, and our providers will decide whether they need treatment (our office will be giving a preventive SHOT of the antibiotic Ceftriaxone). The Meningitis B vaccine takes about 2 weeks to be effective so it is NOT a prophylactic measure. Our office does not supply the vaccine and most insurances do not cover it—reportedly UMass health services and the CVS clinic on University Dr. in Amherst are stocking the vaccine; we do NOT know the cost to patients.
AFP’s vaccine schedule includes the meningitis vaccination to most meningitis but it does NOT include coverage for the B strain. Risk of meningitis remains low. Studies indicate that living with an infected individual have a 0.4 % risk of catching the disease.
Atkinson Family Practice