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Student treated for case of bacterial meningitis

A fourth-year male University student was admitted to the University hospital Wednesday afternoon with bacterial meningitis.

“He is in serious condition and stable,” University spokesperson Carol Wood said. The disease is contagious, Wood said, but only those who have been in close contact with the student are at serious risk of contracting the disease.

Wood said the University administered antibiotics to all those who had been in contact with the student.

The University sent a statement notifying students of the case via a mass e-mail yesterday afternoon. Wood said the University made the decision to notify all students “because it is such a rare and serious disease.”

This year’s case is the first seen at the University during the past several years, Wood said.

Since 2001 the state has required all students to be vaccinated before enrolling in college, and as a result 95 percent of undergraduates and 77 percent of the entire student body are already vaccinated, Wood said, noting that the precautions have dramatically reduced outbreaks at the University.

Bacterial meningitis, specifically meningococcal meningitis, occurs in college students at a rate 4 to 5 times that of the general population, according to a University press release, and has a mortality rate of 15 percent.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion or sleepiness and a red rash that starts on hands and feet. Anyone who has these symptoms should seek medical assistance immediately, according to the release.

—compiled by Matt Conover

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