UC Santa Barbara
The meningitis outbreak we weren't ready for
The meningitis outbreak we weren't ready for

During the last two years, there have been a couple of outbreaks and sporadic cases of bacterial meningitis that federal health agencies failed to address with sufficient aggressiveness. It could have been much worse, and the experience should serve as a wake-up call. Meningitis is a devastating infectious disease, often misdiagnosed as flu, and it can become debilitating so quickly that by the time it is recognized, the patient may be too sick for effective treatment. Over the last four decades, the threat from several types of bacterial meningitis has been significantly reduced by immunization. The first vaccine was approved in 1974, and a newer version was introduced in 2005. However,...