In 2013–2014, an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease occurred among persons linked to a New Jersey university (University A). In the absence of a licensed serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of an investigational MenB vaccine to control the outbreak. An investigation of the outbreak and response was undertaken to determine the population at risk and assess vaccination coverage.
The epidemiologic investigation relied on compilation and review of case and population data, laboratory typing of meningococcal isolates, and unstructured interviews with university staff. Vaccination coverage data were collected during the vaccination campaign held under an expanded-access Investigational New Drug protocol.
Between March 25, 2013, and March 10, 2014, 9 cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease occurred in persons linked to University A. Laboratory typing results were identical for all 8 isolates available. Through May 14, 2014, 89.1% coverage with the 2-dose vaccination series was achieved in the target population. From the initiation of MenB vaccination through February 1, 2015, no additional cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease occurred in University A students. However, the ninth case occurred in March 2014 in an unvaccinated close contact of University A students.
No serogroup B meningococcal disease cases occurred in persons who received 1 or more doses of 4CMenB vaccine, suggesting 4CMenB may have protected vaccinated individuals from disease. However, the ninth case demonstrates that carriage of serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis among vaccinated persons was not eliminated.