A recent report published in MMWR detailed the deployment of a rapid incident command system and vaccination campaign in response to an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease at a California university.
The outbreak affected three undergraduate students in January at Santa Clara University. According to the report, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department was notified of a suspected case of serogroup B meningococcal disease in a student on January 31. During response activities, two additional cases were identified. Serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis was identified after testing from patients A and B, whereas results for patient C were inconclusive.
“All three patients were part of overlapping social networks and had attended the same events during the week before the onset of patient A’s symptoms, but whether they had direct contact with one another could not be verified,” Hope H. Biswas, PhD, of the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC, and colleagues wrote.
According to the report, the initial patient required intensive care, while the other patients had milder responses to the illness. The investigators noted that this may be because they received ciprofloxacin chemoprophylaxis treatments, which the university offered to close contacts immediately after the identification of patient A. No deaths were associated with the outbreak.
The investigators reported that the university’s response was rapid, with vaccination conducted less than 48 hours after the second case was confirmed. The university offered Bexsero (4CMenB, GlaxoSmithKline) to all high-risk patients, including all close contacts and those living on campus during the outbreak. During the vaccination campaign, 4,921 people were vaccinated. The California Department of Public Health provided no-cost 4CMenB vaccines.
“Factors that might have contributed to the rapid response include availability of a licensed vaccine, high levels of preparedness and activation of incident command systems at both the university and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, and close partnerships among the state and local health department and the university,” Biswas and colleagues wrote. – by David Costill