An outbreak of meningococcal disease has caused illnesses and a death on campus.

JoNel Aleccia of the Seattle Times reports.

University of Oregon to do mass vaccinations in deadly outbreak

Health officials at Washington universities are on alert as the University of Oregon launches a mass vaccination campaign to halt the spread of potentially deadly meningococcal infections on the Eugene campus.

Four Oregon students have developed bacterial bloodstream infections known as meningococcemia since the start of the school year, school officials said. Lauren Jones, an 18-year-old freshman from Georgia, died Feb. 17 after becoming infected.

In response, Oregon officials have scheduled a vaccination clinic starting Monday for as many as 22,000 students, plus others at high risk for infection, at the school’s Matthew Knight Arena.

“We are watching this unfold with concern and have increased vigilance here, particularly in a few weeks after our spring break travelers return March 30,” said Dr. Emily Gibson, director of the student health center at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Officials at the University of Washington and Washington State University also said they’ve been monitoring the Oregon cases closely in the wake of the illnesses and death. More than 800 students from Washington state are enrolled at the University of Oregon, records show.

All of the Oregon cases involved the B strain of the bacteria that cause meningitis and related infections — the same strain responsible for outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2013 and 2014. Those outbreaks resulted in a combined 13 infections, including one death, health officials said.