Meningitis Outbreak at Rutgers New Brunswick Prompts Vaccine Recommendation from On-Campus Staff
Updated: Jan 21
Meningitis-a rare condition in which there is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord-has recently made an impact on students at the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus.
This condition is primarily caused by an infection and common symptoms include rashes of the skin, headaches, pain in the muscles, fatigue or excessive sleepiness, sensitivity to light and loud noises, and much more. Seizures and frequent episodes of vomiting are also common when experiencing Meningitis.
Two students at Rutgers have caught cases of Meningitis throughout February and have since been receiving treatment. They are expected to recover from the disease as their degree of Meningitis is not fatal. However, meningitis cases can often lead to hearing and vision problems, recurring seizures, lung and kidney damage, and possibly death.
The two students as of right now had no correlation to one another following the Meningitis outbreak, but health officials on campus have been undergoing investigations to see if there was any bacteria which triggered the infection. Throughout the chaotic investigation, campus officials assured, “Rutgers University is closely monitoring the situation in conjunction with state, regional, and local public health officials…”
Campus officials recommended students to get vaccinated and take antibiotics as a precautionary measure following the outbreak. It was also recommended that they receive medical assistance at any of the health centers on campus after noticing symptoms of the disease. Health centers on the University’s grounds include the Busch Livingston Health Center, Cook Douglass Health Center, and Hurtado Health Center.
Health officials following the case have also suggested that students take their personal hygiene seriously by covering coughs appropriately and avoid close contact with any of the Meningitis-stricken students on campus. They should also contact on-campus health officials and 9-1-1 if any emergencies related to the disease are to arise.
After weeks of investigation, Melodee Lasky-assistant vice chancellor for the health and wellness center at Rutgers University-revealed, “While we cannot predict whether there will be additional cases of meningococcal disease on campus, having two cases occurring over a short time with genetically related organisms suggests that there is an outbreak associated with Rutgers University.”
In an email addressed to campus faculty and staff as well as University students, she explains how individuals at the Rutgers New Brunswick location are at higher risk of the disease. She goes on to mention various preventative measures that should be taken and stresses the importance of remaining distant from individuals with the condition.
This includes not sharing eating utensils, maintaining good personal hygiene, not partaking in acts where bacteria can be spread such as kissing and sharing water bottles, and staying home when sick to avoid other students from catching the potentially harmful disease.
There has been no additional cases of meningitis since the initial two in February, but health officials on campus continue to update students of the situation to ensure the safety and well-being of their Scarlet Knights family. Nailah Mohideen, freshman pharmacy student at the Rutgers New Brunswick campus shared, “The University requires students to get vaccinated, especially if they plan on living on-campus. Since one student decided to not get vaccinated, he or she put the health of the entire University’s students at risk.”
What are your thoughts about the Meningitis outbreak at Rutgers? Do you think all students getting vaccinated could’ve prevented this outbreak or was it inevitable considering the campus’ large student body and their close interactions?
Learn more about Meningitis B here: