A Critical Look at Bexsero

Although a host of different bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all potentially cause the onset of meningitis, the eight Princeton cases have all been determined to be the work of N. meningitides serotype B1. In a void of FDA approved vaccines, the University is turning to Bexsero, the work of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Because, left untreated, the effects of meningitis can escalate to permanent brain damage, hearing loss, and death2, there has been clear opportunity for vaccine development to reduce this risk. Continue reading A Critical Look at Bexsero

The Benefits of Bexsero at Princeton

In the past few weeks, Princeton University has found itself a hot topic in the media for what has now been described as an outbreak of meningitis B1. Although Princeton currently requires all students to be vaccinated against meningitis, the current vaccine does not protect against serogroup B. There is no currently approved vaccine against serogroup B, but Bexsero, a Novartis-produced vaccine that has been licensed in Europe and Australia, has been granted special approval for use on our campus, due to the nature of the outbreak.

It has been particularly difficult to make a vaccine against meningitis serogroup B. Continue reading The Benefits of Bexsero at Princeton

Q&A with Head of CDC’s Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch Dr. Thomas Clark

Meningitis is an infection in the membrane layers surrounding the brain and the spinal cord called the meninges. It is airborne and is spread through close contact such as coughing or sneezing. The outbreak is related to type B (serogroup B) meningococcal bacteria which is the cause of the eight cases of meningitis at the University. The vaccine Bexsero has recently been developed and licensed in Europe and Australia to protect against type B (serogroup B) meningococcal disease. As has been announced by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Princeton University, the meningitis cases have been declared to be an outbreak. As a result, the CDC is importing Bexsero for use among students at Princeton University.

PPHR spoke with Dr. Thomas Clark, the head of CDC’s meningitis and vaccine preventable disease branch. Continue reading Q&A with Head of CDC’s Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch Dr. Thomas Clark

Why an Outbreak at Princeton?

For the past nine months, Princeton University has been trying to halt an outbreak of bacterial meningitis in its students without success. Since bacterial meningitis is a serious infection of the brain and spinal cord that can cause brain damage and death, having it on campus is no small matter.

The situation at Princeton, where eight students have fallen ill, has had students thinking — why is the meningitis outbreak at Princeton? Continue reading Why an Outbreak at Princeton?

Alzheimer’s Research–The Road Ahead: A Q&A with the NIA Director of Neuroscience

Statistics illustrate the extent to which Alzheimer’s disease is prevalent in the United States. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and nearly 5.2 million Americans of all ages have this disease in 2013. In fact, it is estimated that in 2013, Alzheimer’s will cost the nation nearly $203 billion and the cost is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by the end of 2050.2 These numbers all raise concerns as to what is essentially going on about Alzheimer’s research, diagnosis, treatments and prevention.

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The Princeton Public Health Review reached out to Dr. Neil Buckholtz, the Director of the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute of Aging (NIA). Continue reading Alzheimer’s Research–The Road Ahead: A Q&A with the NIA Director of Neuroscience

Meningitis Outbreak on the Princeton Campus

On Friday, November 22, the eighth case of meningitis was reported at Princeton University. This case, like the seven previous ones confirmed at Princeton over the past nine months, was shown to be caused by a rare meningococcal bacterium known as serotype B. While this may be regarded as a small number in a campus of 5,000 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students, what worries public health officials is that meningitis is a rare disease.  Moreover, group B is particularly rare in the United States.

Meningitis is generally characterized as the inflammation of a membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. Continue reading Meningitis Outbreak on the Princeton Campus

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