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With recently confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis B at Yale and Providence College, Harvard administrators have contacted students about outbreak and prevention of the infection.
On Friday night, Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde sent a College-wide email containing a message from University Health Services Director Paul Barreira. Barreira wrote that although no cases of meningitis have been reported at Harvard, the University will continue monitoring the situations on the other campuses closely.
In the message, Barreira informed students about symptoms of the infection, such as sudden onset fever, intense headache, nausea and vomiting, and a red/purple rash. He wrote that early treatment can help prevent spread or complications of meningitis, but symptoms can often escalate quickly. Students were told in the email to take preventive measures centered around good hygiene such as washing hands frequently.
All incoming freshman at Harvard are required to receive a meningococcal vaccine which protects against the A, C, Y, and W-135 serotypes. A new B vaccine exists but is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine immunization, according to the email.
At Yale, where there is one CDC-confirmed meningitis case, Yale Health will soon be offering the B vaccine for free to those with Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty coverage, according to the Yale Daily News.
From March 2013 to March 2014, there were nine cases of meningococcal meningitis B associated with Princeton. One of those cases, a female student at Drexel University died of meningitis B after having close contact with Princeton students.
—Staff writer Celeste M. Mendoza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CelesteMMendoza.
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