Expert shares what he knows about Meningococcal B vaccine

Dr. Luedtke with Lane Public Health shares how the vaccines for the meningococcal disease works.

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 12:36 PM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 1:15 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Since the sixth meningococcal case was reported at OSU the university is now requiring every student to get vaccinated against the disease.

KEZI 9 News investigated more about the vaccine and talked to Dr. Patrick Luedtke who works at Lane County Public Health.
Luedtke said there are multiple strands of the meningococcal disease and there are different vaccines to treat each one.

He said there are typically two types of vaccines used to treat the different strands of meningococcal cases. He said one vaccine takes a small portion of the live virus and alters it to make the body build immunity against the actual disease. The other vaccine takes the dead virus and uses some of the chemicals still present for the body to recognize and build immunity.

Luedtke said the vaccine developed to treat the Meningococcal B strand is safe and effective. However, they are still trying to find out how long its immunity will last.

He said the strand previously reported on the OSU campus is a bacteria strand called Nisseria Meningitidis. Luedtke said the vaccine developed to treat the B strand is fairly new.

“We didn’t get a vaccine until 2014, so we don’t have a lot of experience with it. We’ve had vaccines for other types of this bacteria type A, type C, type Y, type W, but not for type B," said Luedtke.

He also said there are two vaccine manufacturers. One of them is a two-dose vaccine, while the other is a three-dose. He said it is very important for parents and students to keep track of when they need to get their next dose.

Luedtke said it is common for diseases like this to spread especially during this time of year when people spend time indoors breathing the same air.

“When a new entinty, a new virus or bacteria is brought into a community and nobody has immunity, for a period of time everybody is at risk,” he said.

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