University offering free vaccinations to protect against illness
THE SANTA CLARA
February 4, 2016
A third Santa Clara University student has been diagnosed with a meningococcal infection as of Wednesday afternoon.
All three students are infected with the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis and have the serogroup B strain of the bacteria, according to a Santa Clara County Public Health Department press release issued Thursday, Feb. 4.
They are all first year males who fell ill on Sunday Jan. 31. The first two students confirmed to be sick with meningococcal infections both live in Swig Residence Hall and are pledging Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.
“As of this morning, two students remain hospitalized and both are listed in fair condition,” the press release stated. “A third student was discharged in good condition.”
One student is confirmed to have meningitis, which is an infection of the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, while another student is confirmed to be ill with meningococcemia, a bloodstream infection.
So far, it has not been released whether or not the third student is sick with meningitis or meningococcemia.
“The three students continue to be under the close care of medical professionals,” a Feb. 4 university press release stated. “As a student-centered institution, we place the highest priority on the care and concern for our students. Our current circumstances remind us of this. Our community extends our thoughts and prayers to them for a speedy recovery.”
More than 200 Santa Clara students who were exposed to the bacteria have received preventive antibiotics to protect them from developing the illness in the short term, according to the press release.
The Health Department recommends that all Santa Clara students receive a vaccine protecting them against the serogroup B strain of the bacteria.
Bexsero® vaccinations will be provided on campus in the Leavey Center on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m., as well as on Friday, Feb. 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All Santa Clara students can receive the vaccine for free.
The vaccine was FDA approved in 2015, and helps prevent people aged 10 through 25 from developing invasive meningococcal disease caused by the serogroup B strain of the bacteria.
Symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache and stiff neck. Other signs include nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light. Symptoms of meningococcemia, the bloodstream infection, include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, cold hands and feet, chills, muscle aches and a dark purple or red rash.
“People with these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention,” the press release stated. “The Santa Clara University community is advised to watch for these symptoms in themselves and others.”
Meningococcal bacteria are carried in the throat and nose and are transmitted from person to person during close or prolonged contact, such as kissing or being coughed on.
Check back for updates.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4849. Follow her on Twitter @MattsonSophie.