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Eradicating Meningitis: Epidemiology And Vaccines

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Staff, volunteer nurses and EMT’s are giving Meningitis vaccines to University of Oregon students at a staggering pace. Public Health officials say ten percent of the student population has received the shot so far. Meanwhile, Lane County Public Health continues to investigate the Meningitis outbreak.

Public Health officials have yet to confirm which of the sickened students is the “sentinel case,” – the one who contracted the disease first. They continue to evaluate several people but say there are currently no suspected cases.

Spokesman Jason Davis says it’s typical for colleges at some point in their history to experience a meningitis case or two. But about the four cases at the U of O he adds:

Davis: “It’s definitely atypical in terms of the number and the time that that number popped up. The reason that we’re taking the action that we are is because it’s too many cases. You know, we had someone pass away. That’s one too many lives.”

Davis says the public health effort is double edged:

Davis: “We’re doing the epidemiology which is the detective work in tandem with just blanketing everybody with protection. And that really secures the campus.”

The university expects to immunize the rest of undergraduates during the “mass vax” clinic at Matthew Knight Arena next week.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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