As of May 18, 2016, there have been two (2) recent cases of meningococcal serotype B meningitis identified in West Virginia. Healthcare providers around the state need to be vigilant regarding suspect cases of meningitis in their area. Meningococcal B meningitis is a serious, life-threatening illness that can be prevented through the use of vaccines.
Although meningitis vaccines are required for 7th and 12th grade students for compulsory immunizations, these vaccines only cover meningococcal serotypes A, C, W, and Y (MCV4). There is a vaccine available for prevention of meningococcal serotype B, although it is not required for school entry and not included in the MCV4 vaccine. Healthcare providers are encouraged to make meningococcal serogroup B vaccine available to adolescents and young adults aged 16 through 23 years.
Symptoms of acute meningococcal meningitis are commonly preceded by upper respiratory tract symptoms (nasal congestion, low grade fever, and/or rhinorrhea). Other symptoms include: headache, irritability, nausea, nuchal rigidity (stiff neck), lethargy, photophobia, vomiting, fever and altered mental status (confusion).
Meningococcal meningitis is a rare disease, but all cases are potentially life-threatening. Timely diagnosis and treatment of meningococcal meningitis is imperative to improving the outcome for the patient as well as providing prophylaxis to close contacts in preventing the rapid spread of meningococcal disease. There are 50 to 60 cases and 5 to 10 deaths from meningococcal disease serogroup B every year in the United States; most of these in persons aged 16 through 23 years.
For additional information on vaccination requirements and recommendations, visit the Division of Immunization Services website at http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/oeps/immunization or call (304) 558-2188. For questions regarding meningococcal disease, contact the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at (304) 558-5358, extension 1.
Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department
1500 Chapline Street, Room 106
Wheeling, WV 26003
Howard Gamble, MPH
Becky Beckett, RN
Lock Johnson, RS
William Mercer, M.D.
Threat Preparedness Director
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is encouraging residents to take precautions while returning to their homes to begin clean up to reduce injury and illness. "Disease producing bacteria are often carried by flood water and sewage," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health. "These bacteria can remain alive and dangerous for long periods of time on items covered or expose...Full Article