University of Wisconsin officials on Thursday confirmed a third case of meningococcal disease on campus, which qualifies as an outbreak according to the Centers for Disease Control’s three person definition.
University Health Services officials could not be reached to comment on whether they are ready to label the string of cases as an outbreak.
In a statement, UHS said the UW student is currently being treated at a local hospital. UHS, Public Health Madison and Dane County officials are currently investigating to see if the current case is related to the two previous cases from earlier this month.
UHS and public health officials are working to notify individuals who had close contact with the third infected student.
The two previous cases were related to the meningococcal disease serogroup B, and the students who were infected by that specific strain are now recovering. Officials have not confirmed if the third student has the serogroup B strain.
At the beginning of the school year, less than 5 percent of the undergraduate population was vaccinated for the B strain, William Kinsey, director of medical services at UHS, said.
Since UHS began offering free vaccinations for the serogroup B strain, Kinsey said more than 12,000 undergraduates have been vaccinated.
The vaccine for meningitis B takes two weeks to develop an immune response. In that time period, students who experience high fever with severe headache, neck stiffness and confusion should seek medical attention immediately.
In light of the recent case, UHS has expanded vaccination services. Additional clinics will be offered at the SERF Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 12 to 8 p.m.
A second dose of the vaccine will be offered later in November.