UW-Madison urges meningitis vaccinations for all undergrads after 2 cases

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering the new, two-dose meningitis vaccine to students for free after a rare form of the disease put two students in the hospital last week.

The vaccine offered by University Health Services is effective against the B strain of the meningitis. Few students are vaccinated against the B strain because the two-dose vaccine is relatively new. Most students have been vaccinated for the 4 most common strains -- A, C, W and Y.

The two students who were hospitalized with the B strain are expected to make full recoveries, but the university is urging all undergraduate students to get vaccinated.

“We are grateful that both students are recovering. We hope to be able to provide additional information later this week or early next,” said Dr. William Kinsey, 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.”

Type B meningitis has been linked to outbreaks on at least 6 college campuses since 2013, including a death at UW-Madison in 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this report