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UW-L student health director: U.S. should have meningitis B strain vaccine

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- On Monday, students at Princeton University became the first in the country to get a vaccine protecting against the meningitis B strain.

UW-L student health director Dr. Brian Allen said the U.S. doesn’t have a vaccine that protects against the B strain, because it hasn’t been studied and approved.

However, an exception was made for Princeton, because eight students have gotten sick since March.

Allen said he’s glad Princeton got the vaccine, because meningitis can be deadly.

He also says he hopes there will soon be a vaccine in the u-s protecting against the b strain.

“We know if we could get college students to not go to bars, not drink, not share their food, not share their utensils you know kind of the normal stuff college students do, their risk goes way down, but that’s just not practical,” said Allen.

UW-L and Viterbo don’t require students to get a meningitis vaccine, but it’s highly recommended especially for students living in dorms.

Allen said UW-L had one case of meningitis about six years ago.

Four students at the University of California Santa Barbara also got sick from a B strain outbreak, and one had to have his feet amputated, because of the illness.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t plan to vaccinate that campus, because the outbreak appears to have stopped.

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