Princeton Meningitis Outbreak Worries Local Parents - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Princeton Meningitis Outbreak Worries Local Parents

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Seven cases of meningitis B have erupted on Princeton University's campus over the last nine months. But it seems like students are just now starting to take it seriously, after the US Government got involved to help stop the spread.

The strain of meningitis is rarely seen in the United States, which means there's no vaccine here. But the CDC is now importing Bexsero - a B strain vaccine approved for use in Europe and Australia, but not yet approved by the FDA.

It's an unprecedented move that makes parents happy, even here in Erie.

Sharon and Damon Prenovitz's eldest son, Michal, is a freshman at Princeton.

"Quite frankly, I'm happy that they're going to hopefully, take the next step and immunize the kids with the B vaccine," Sharon said.

Princeton's Board of Trustees met on Saturday to discuss making the vaccine available to students - an option that students seem to welcome.

Michal said that he and all of his friends would take the vaccine. "If it's used in Europe and Australia, we all feel like it's probably okay," he said in a phone interview.

Though bacterial meningitis is a deadly disease that spreads quickly and attacks the brain and spinal cord, it's relatively rare - especially strain B.

"Meningitis B found in young adults in the United States is very unusual," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University.

But that means students might overlook caution.

"You just don't know with kids, because they think they're invincible," said Damon.

"Even now, there's still a lot of cup sharing and things like that," Michal said.

But with the eye of the national media on Princeton and a strong awareness campaign on the campus, students are being more careful.

"When it came out on national news, that's when we realized how bad it was. I'm definitely trying to avoid sharing cups, definitely not eating anyone else's food," Michal said. "And I'm washing my hands more, because my mom said to," he added.

As for the vaccine, students can expect to hear the Board's decision as early as Monday.

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