Press release assures that risk of contracting illness is low
THE SANTA CLARA
February 1, 2016
University officials are concerned that a male undergraduate student hospitalized on Sunday, Jan. 31 may have meningococcal meningitis.
A university press release sent out to the university community on Jan. 31 stated: “We expect to have confirmation tomorrow or soon thereafter with the cause of the student’s illness.”
The student’s friend senior Connor Powell, president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, said the student seemed fine yesterday while spending time with him and his other fraternity brothers, but quickly became ill several hours later.
“I was so shocked at what happened because he was all smiles while we were playing basketball on Saturday afternoon,” Powell said. “As a fraternity we are devastated that such a horrible thing could happen to such a great guy. He is in our thoughts and prayers.”
Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of the protective tissue covering the brain and spinal cord and may develop from exposure to certain bacteria or viruses, among other causes.
Symptoms of meningitis include high fever, a stiff neck and a severe headache, and may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, discomfort when looking into bright lights and mental confusion, the press release stated. Symptoms may develop within several hours or over a period of 1 to 2 days.
The University has been working “closely” with Santa Clara County Public Health Department to identify any students that may have had close contact with him since Jan. 24 to give them preventative antibiotics, the press release stated.
Meningococcal meningitis is contagious but is only spread by close and prolonged contact, like kissing or being coughed on. People who live in the same household as a person with meningitis may have an increased risk of infection.
However, the press release assured that the risk of infection is “extraordinarily low”.
“The vast majority of people at school do not need to be concerned or take any special precautions,” the press release stated.
The bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis can only live outside of the body for a few minutes and are not spread by casual contact or by breathing the same air as a person with the illness.
“There is no risk from being in the classroom or anywhere else on campus where the ill student spent time,” the press release stated.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there was an incidence rate of 0.18 cases of meningococcal meningitis per 100,000 people in 2013 in the United States.
Students can find more information about meningococcal meningitis at http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/index.html. Students are advised to contact the Cowell Center if they are concerned they may have had close contact with the student.
Check back for updates.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4849. Follow her on Twitter @MattsonSophie.