Get to know the risk of a college outbreak

Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, uncommon happens.1 By educating yourself on how meningococcal disease can become a campus outbreak and how serogroup B is often ignored, you'll see why it's worth helping to protect your students against meningococcal disease, including serogroup B.1

A potential campus threat


Regardless of serogroup, meningococcal disease is transmitted through respiratory droplet secretions, such as saliva. College students living on campus in close quarters and having certain everyday risky behaviors can result in increased rates of meningococcal disease.


Some of the behaviors known to increase the risk of spreading the disease include2-4

How close has meningococcal disease come to your campus?

Cases and Outbreaks on College Campuses, 2013-2019.5

According to the National Meningitis Association, meningococcal disease has been reported on over 50 US college campuses from 2013-2019.5

Additionally, from 2011 through March 2019, meningococcal serogroup B disease (MenB) caused all US college meningococcal outbreaks, which involved 13 campuses, 50 cases, and 2 deaths among an at-risk population of approximately 253,000 students.6

Prevalence of MenB

US Meningococcal Disease Cases in Patients Aged 16-23 Years, 2015-20187

CDC surveillance data from 2015-2018 showed MenB caused more than 60% of all US meningococcal cases in teens and young adults 16-23 years of age (N=223).7

*Includes other, nongroupable, and unknown serogroups.

Incidence of Meningococcal Disease Among Adolescents and Young Adults by Serogroup, According to CDC, 2014-20168


Source: National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) data with additional serogroup data from Active Bacterial Core surveillance and state health departments. Unknown serogroup and other serogroups excluded.


Furthermore, CDC data from 2014-2016 showed a peak in the incidence of MenB in adolescents and young adults between 18-20 years of age, regardless of whether they attended college.9

While meningococcal disease is uncommon, studies have shown that between 2014-2017, the relative risk of contracting MenB was 3.5 to 5 times higher in college students aged 18-24 years compared with peers not attending college.1,6,9,*,†


*0.17 cases in college students vs 0.05 cases in peers not attending college per 100,000 population in 2014-2016 (18-24 year olds).9

0.22 cases in college students vs 0.04 cases in peers not attending college per 100,000 population in 2015-2017 (16-24 year olds).6

Proactive about prevention

For the most up-to-date vaccine pre-matriculation recommendations and requirements for meningococcal disease, please contact your state departments of health or the institution directly in inquiry or check its website.

Despite most colleges having vaccination requirements for MenACWY, only a small percentage have implemented vaccination requirements for MenB.10,11

*Based on publicly available data from 1,932 campus immunization forms. Data are as of October 2019.

Six of these campuses allow students to opt out of MenB vaccination.

Did you know there are vaccines for meningococcal disease?



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