Updated November 1, 2016

  • Serogroup B meningococcal disease, sometimes referred to as “meningitis B”, can be deadly within hours or days of getting sick. It can also lead to severe disabilities, such as loss of limbs.
  • Based upon lab testing, the best protection against the specific outbreak strain is expected with the full 3-dose series of the meningitis B vaccine Trumenba®.
  • The meningitis B vaccine is different than the “ACWY” meningitis vaccine typically administered in junior high or high school and required by university housing (such as Menveo® or Menactra®). The meningitis ACWY vaccine does not protect against the bacteria which causes meningitis B.
  • If you previously received or will be receiving the meningitis ACWY vaccine for University housing, the meningitis B vaccine is still required to protect against meningitis B.
  • All Rutgers University–New Brunswick undergraduate students should receive the meningitis B vaccine Trumenba®. This includes all on-campus, off-campus, and commuter undergraduate students.
  • Students can be vaccinated at many NJ pharmacies or at doctors’ offices. Please bring your insurance card and prescription card with you.
  • Action Required: Verification of each meningitis B vaccine dose received or declination is required. Click here to download verification forms.

What Actions Do Students Need to Take?

All Rutgers University–New Brunswick undergraduate students are required to take one of the following actions:

  1. Submit a verification form after receiving each dose of the vaccination series.
  1. Submit a signed declination form indicating they are not interested in receiving or completing the vaccination series. We understand that students may choose to decline the vaccination for a variety of reasons, including medical or religious reasons. However, we urge you to take this health advisory seriously. Meningitis B can be deadly within hours or days of getting sick. It can also lead to severe disabilities, such as loss of limbs. If you plan to decline due to concerns about payment, insurance, finding the vaccine, or any other logistical issue, please contact Student Health to see if we can help.
  1. Students living on campus who need to be compliant in order to receive their room keys who have not yet started the vaccine, but do not wish to decline, can verbally commit to start the vaccine in order to maintain compliance. Students may attend one of our on-campus vaccination clinics, visit their local doctor or pharmacy, visit a pharmacy near campus, or make an appointment on one of our Health Centers.

Verification and declination forms can be sent to vaccine@rci.rutgers.edu.

On-Campus Vaccination Clinics and Fast Track Information

Several on-campus vaccination clinics are scheduled throughout the year to administer the Trumenba® vaccine. Students will be able to receive any of their 3 doses of Trumenba® at the clinics.

Students can just walk in to any of the on-campus clinics as long as they have their RU ID Card or NetID, insurance card and prescription card (if they have one). We’ve also created a Fast Track option to get students in and out of the clinic much faster. To access the Fast Track line, students need to fill out their paperwork in advance and bring it to the clinic.

If you have any questions, please contact Rutgers Student Health at health@rutgers.edu or 848-932-7402.

Overview

Two Rutgers University-New Brunswick students had serogroup B meningococcal disease, sometimes referred to as “meningitis B”, in the Spring 2016 semester. Both students were hospitalized and both have fully recovered.

Testing performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the bacteria from the two students are genetically indistinguishable (a match) even though no common link was found between the two students. This suggests that the strain is present among the Rutgers University–New Brunswick student population.

Click on the topics below for more information.

Overview of Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but potentially fatal infection, with early symptoms that resemble the flu, making diagnosis difficult. When it causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, it is called meningococcal meningitis. Meningococcal disease can also cause the bloodstream infections.

Signs and symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion or rash. Early diagnosis and treatment is important because meningococcal disease can be deadly within hours or days of getting sick. It can also lead to severe disabilities, such as loss of limbs.

The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease require prolonged or very close, person to person contact in order to spread. You must be in close contact (e.g., by living in close quarters, kissing) with the person’s saliva or other respiratory secretions in order for the bacteria to spread.

Fortunately, the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are much harder to spread than the virus that causes the flu. The bacteria are not spread by casual contact, such as being in the same classroom as someone who is sick, sharing a bus with an infected person, or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningococcal disease has been.

The bacteria also cannot live outside of the body for very long. There is no evidence that says you are at risk of catching the infection by touching surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, or exercise equipment that someone who is sick touched. Sharing facilities like a cafeteria, gym, bus, or classroom also does not put someone at increased risk of infection. However, hand washing and covering your cough or sneeze are good hygiene practices to follow.

Who Is At Risk?

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Rutgers University strongly recommend, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that the following Rutgers University–New Brunswick populations receive the serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine Trumenba® (Pfizer):

  • All incoming and returning Rutgers University–New Brunswick undergraduate students, including transfer students, regardless of whether or not they live in campus housing.
  • Members of the Rutgers University–New Brunswick community who have any medical condition that puts them at increased risk for meningococcal disease. These conditions include functional and anatomic asplenia (including sickle cell disease), persistent complement component deficiencies (C3, C5-C9, properdin, factor H, factor D), and taking Soliris® for treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).
  • Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease, Neisseria meningitidis.

University Response

Rutgers University is committed to the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff, visitors, and neighbors. Rutgers University, the New Jersey Department of Health, local health officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to develop public health recommendations to protect the Rutgers University community.

As part of our efforts to prevent the spread of serogroup B meningococcal disease and protect the Rutgers University–New Brunswick populations at risk of getting the disease, Rutgers University–New Brunswick wants to stress the following to members of the university community:

  • At-risk populations should get vaccinated with the MenB vaccine
  • Everyone should practice good hygiene to help stop the spread of the disease
  • Everyone should know the symptoms and if you have any doubts about your symptoms, see a doctor

We will continue to update this website as more information is made available.

Vaccination Recommendation

Based upon lab testing of the specific outbreak strain at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, the best protection is expected with the full 3-dose series of Trumenba (3rd dose 6 months after the first). Therefore, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Rutgers University recommend, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that Trumenba® be administered to help protect against the particular strain present on the Rutgers University–New Brunswick campus. While one or two doses of Bexsero® or Trumenba® will provide some short-term protection against the specific outbreak strain at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the best protection is expected to require completion of the full three-dose series of Trumenba® with the second dose given 1–2 months after the first and the third dose 6 months after the first.

About the Serogroup B Meningococcal (MenB) Vaccine

The MenB vaccine is a different vaccine than the meningococcal vaccination that is already required for all undergraduate, graduate and transfer students who are in University housing. The required vaccine for residential students only protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y. It does not protect against serogroup B, which is the strain detected on campus in spring 2016.

To locate or confirm availability of Trumenba®, call your health care provider or local pharmacy, use the vaccine locator through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.vaccines.gov/getting/where/index.html, or call the Trumenba® Vaccine Locator Service at 1-800-683-8572.

As this has been classified as an outbreak setting, many insurance companies will cover the cost of the vaccine. You can confirm with your insurance company.

Vaccination Verification

All undergraduate students are required to either submit verification of receiving the vaccine series or sign a document containing information about meningococcal disease prevention and vaccination. Verification and other forms can be found here. Completed forms can be returned two ways:

By email: vaccine@rci.rutgers.edu

By mail:
Rutgers University
Attention: Immunizations
57 US Highway 1
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Student Trumenba® Vaccination Appointments at the Hurtado Health Center Can Be Scheduled Online.

Click here to schedule your Trumenba® vaccination appointment at nbstudenthealthportal.rutgers.edu (netID required).

  • Vaccinations are administered at the Hurtado Health Center.
  • Please bring your insurance card and RU ID.
  • All insurances accepted.
  • Summer fee is waived for Trumenba® appointments only.

Help Stop the Spread: Practice Good Hygiene

Meningococcal bacteria are spread from person-to-person through the exchange of saliva (spit), coughs, and sneezes. You must be in direct (close) or lengthy contact with an infected person’s secretions to be exposed (e.g., kissing, sharing eating utensils, sharing water bottles, sharing smoking materials such as cigarettes and vaping materials).You can help stop the spread by doing the following:

  • Don’t share anything that comes into contact with the mouth (drinking glasses, smoking materials, eating utensils, cosmetics or lip balm)
  • Always cough into a sleeve or tissue
  • Wash hands frequently (use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available)

Know the Symptoms

Serogroup B meningococcal disease can become deadly in 48 hours or less. If you have any doubts about your symptoms, see a doctor.

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Fever and chills
  • In later stages, a dark purple rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck