After the confirmation of the sixth case of meningococcal disease in a University of Oregon student this year, a press conference was held in which Dr. Paul Cieslak, Medical Director for the Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention section of the Oregon Public Health Division, and Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Health Officer for Lane County Public Health took questions from the media Thursday.

Dr. Paul Cieslak and Dr. Patrick Luedtke take questions from the press/Video Screen Shot
Dr. Paul Cieslak and Dr. Patrick Luedtke take questions from the press/Video Screen Shot

Dr. Paul Cieslak said, “It’s another serogroup B disease and we assume it’s related to the other cases”.

Concerning the condition of the UO student, Dr. Patrick Luedtke said, “The sick student is doing fine, in the hospital, conversant, wide awake, doing okay and expected to make a full recovery.”

On the topic of getting vaccinated, Cieslak said, “for the vast majority of students the message is ‘get vaccinated’. We’re not going to solve this problem by giving antibiotics to a few close contacts.”

When asked about the potential for more cases of meningococcal disease, Cieslak explained that the organism has escaped the “initial ring” and has got into the broader student population so the risk for more cases is possible.

Some 9,000 students have been vaccinated against meningitis B; however, the doctors said they like to see it be a lot more.

Check out more Q&A in the nearly 30 minute press conference HERE, including their thoughts on mandatory meningitis vaccination.

In related news, the Oregon Daily Emerald reports that on March 23, Oregon Governor Kate Brown will release a Public Service Announcement along with the Oregon Health Authority in response to the UO outbreak.

In addition, the meningitis support organization, Meningitis Angels, will help in the effort in Oregon. In an email to Outbreak News Today, Executive Director, Frankie Milley said, “Meningitis Angels will launch our new music video for Oregon on April 24th. We will also be working with the health departments and university to create more meningitis awareness and hopefully increase immunization rates.”