[Friday, Nov. 9 - 11:50 a.m.] Update to the CU Boulder Community

The recent case of a CU Boulder student being treated for meningococcal disease was isolated, and no other students have become ill, according to Boulder County Public Health. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) determined that the serogroup for this case is “non-groupable,” which means that the bacteria lacks the capsule that expresses virulence and is usually associated with asymptomatic carriage and not invasive disease. For now, the university recommends that our community adhere to the following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practices to avoid becoming ill with meningococcal meningitis:

Vaccination Recommendations

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against meningococcal meningitis. If you haven’t been vaccinated or it’s been longer than five years, the CDC recommends two vaccinations:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccines such as Menactra or Menveo
  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccines such as Bexsero or Trumenba
  • In addition to meningococcal conjugate vaccine, certain preteens and teens should get a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine if they have a rare “complement component deficiency” disorder; are taking the medicine Soliris; or have a damaged spleen or have had their spleen removed.

It is recommended that students speak with their primary care provider about the vaccination(s) that are most appropriate for them.

Vaccination Locations

Students should seek vaccines from their primary care provider when possible, but the following local resources are also available to them:

  • Wardenburg Health Center on campus, where the Menveo (ACWY) and Bexsero (B) vaccines are available by appointment through the Medical Clinic, and Bexsero and Trumenba are available in the pharmacy.

Local pharmacies and medical offices:

Minimizing the spread of disease

Avoid direct contact with the saliva of others through:

  • Sharing e-cigarettes (e.g. JUULs) or other smoking devices
  • Kissing
  • Sharing drinks, glasses or eating utensils
  • Being exposed to secretions from the nose or throat of an infected person


[Monday, Nov. 5 - 11:30 a.m.] CU Boulder student ill from meningitis. 

A 19-year-old male student from CU Boulder has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis. The student is in fair condition at Boulder Community Hospital. 

Boulder County Public Health officials are investigating this case. Officials are reaching out to those who have been in close contact with the patient. Close contact is defined as direct salival contact.

Meningitis is serious

Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that causes infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Most people recover from meningitis, however, serious complications, including death, can occur in as little as a few hours if left untreated. It is treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stiff neck, fever

Some of the most common symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include fever, severe headache or stiff neck, extreme fatigue, light sensitivity and/or confusion.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider or Wardenburg Health Center at 303-492-5101.

The disease spreads via saliva

Meningococcal disease may be spread to others; however, this is uncommon. Those CU community members who have had close contact with this student are being contacted by Boulder County Public Health. The risk to other people is minimal and is confined to those who have had close contact with the person.

Close contact includes any direct salival contact including:

  • sharing e-cigarettes (e.g. JUULs) or other smoking devices
  • kissing
  • sharing drinks, glasses or eating utensils
  • being exposed to secretions from the nose or throat of the infected person

A person may be infected for one to 10 days, and most commonly three to four days, before showing any symptoms.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against this severe disease. Anyone who has never been vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis or has not been vaccinated in the past five years, should consider getting the vaccination.Those at greatest risk are students living in residence halls, so these individuals should consider vaccination from their primary health care provider. However, if you have been determined to be a close contact of a person with meningococcal disease, you still need to get medications even if you have been adequately vaccinated.

For more information on meningococcal meningitis and the vaccination, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis.

When there is new information to share, updates will be posted on this site.