HealthDay News — College students have an increased risk for sporadic and outbreak-associated serogroup B meningococcal disease, according to a study published online Dec. 31 in Pediatrics.

Sarah A. Mbaeyi, MD, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and enhanced meningococcal disease surveillance to compare the incidence and relative risk (RR) of meningococcal disease among college students and noncollege students aged 18 to 24 years during 2014 to 2016.

The researchers identified 166 cases of meningococcal disease among persons aged 18 to 24 years from 2014 to 2016, with an average annual incidence of 0.17 cases per 100,000 population. There were 6 serogroup B outbreaks on college campuses, accounting for 31.7% of serogroup B cases among college students during the study period. For serogroup B meningococcal disease, the RR for college students vs noncollege students was 3.54 (95% confidence interval, 2.21 to 5.41); the RR for serogroups C, W, and Y combined was 0.56 (95% confidence interval, 0.27 to 1.14). CC32/ET-5 and CC41/44 lineage 3 were the most common serogroup B clonal complexes identified.

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“And now we can say that college students are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Pediatricians and primary care providers have a more compelling reason to recommend serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for their patients who anticipate attending college.”

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