- Compared with same-aged peers not in college, college students had more than triple the risk for serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) disease.
Why this matters
- 2 MenB vaccines are licensed in the United States, although not routinely recommended for all adolescents or college students.
- During the 3-year period, among all youth aged 18-24 years:
- 166 cases of meningococcal disease.
- Average annual incidence, 0.17 cases per 100,000 population.
- There were 6 serogroup B outbreaks on college campuses (31.7% of all serogroup B cases in college students).
- Compared with same-aged noncollege students, college students had:
- Higher risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease (relative risk, 3.54; 95% CI, 2.21-5.41).
- Lower risk for serogroups C, W, or Y meningococcal disease combined (relative risk, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.27-1.14).
- College students' risk for serogroup B disease was still elevated when considering only sporadic (nonoutbreak) cases.
- In a commentary, Lucila Marquez, MD, MPH, and Sheldon L. Kaplan, MD, write, "At a minimum, pediatricians should educate students and families regarding the increased risk of MenB infections in college students in the United States and inform them that 2 vaccines are available that can potentially protect college students from this infection."
- Population-based cohort study using 2014-2016 data from National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and enhanced meningococcal disease surveillance.
- Analyses compared college students vs noncollege students aged 18-24 years.
- Main outcomes: incidence, relative risk for meningococcal disease.
- Funding: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Possible nondetection of cases.
- Small number of cases.
- Inability to assess trends.