In a follow-up on an earlier report on two meningococcal disease cases in students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison), University Health Services (UHS) report Tuesday that both cases have been confirmed as Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B.

Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström
Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

UHS notes that additional genetic testing is being conducted to determine if the two bacteria are closely related. People who may have had close contact with these students have been contacted and treated as a precaution. Both students are currently recovering.

UHS is in close communication with officials from the state and Public Health Madison-Dane County to determine the best vaccine recommendation for UW–Madison students.

“We are grateful that both students are recovering. We hope to be able to provide additional information later this week or early next,” says William Kinsey, MD, director of medical services at UHS. “In the meantime we want to remind everyone of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and encourage all students to limit the spread of respiratory illness by not sharing cups, glasses, or other items.”

Most students are immunized against serogroups ACYW but very few students are vaccinated against serogroup B. Serogroup B vaccine has only recently become available and it is not routinely recommended.


Meningococcal disease most often causes meningitis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It’s very rare, often comes on suddenly, and can progress rapidly. Symptoms include high fever (greater than 101 degrees F), accompanied by severe headache, neck stiffness and confusion. Vomiting or rashes may also occur. Anyone with these symptoms should contact a health care provider or go to an emergency room immediately.

Related:  What is meningitis, how do you get infected and how can you prevent it?