Understanding the Impact of Meningococcal B Vaccination Among Princeton University Students

2014-16 Seed Grant

Outbreaks of bacterial meningitis are a significant public threat whenever they occur because of the severity of the disease and the high case fatality. Since the spring of 2013, an outbreak of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B has led to seven cases among Princeton University students, one case among a visitor, and the death of a Drexel University student. This prolonged outbreak has posed a significant public health threat and prompted the introduction of a recently developed, novel meningococcal B vaccine known as Bexsero, through the US Food and Drug Administration’s Investigational New Drug application process since the vaccine is not yet licensed in the US.

Plans to vaccinate incoming students in Fall 2014 presents a unique opportunity to assess the impact of the vaccine on immune response to the outbreak strain and to menB strains more broadly both before and after vaccination. Following our successful study of the impact of Bexsero among Princeton students after the 2013- 2014 vaccination campaigns, we will investigate the immunogenicity of Bexsero by conducting an epidemiological study of immune markers of protection against invasive disease both before and after the Bexsero vaccination campaign in a cohort of incoming students. Our aim is to better understand the immune response to meningococcal B vaccination during an outbreak, to evaluate the immunogenicity of the vaccine among college students recently vaccinated with quadrivalent ACWY meningococcal vaccine, and to collect data that could provide evidence-based recommendations to guide future disease control and prevention policies.


Ecology & Evolutionary Biology