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Probable Case of Meningitis

A freshman from of Pinchot Hall in East Halls has been diagnosed with a probable case of meningococcal meningitis and has been receiving treatment at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Those close to the student have also been offered prophylactic medication as a precaution. While meningitis is not easily transmittable – it’s spread through saliva and routine, close contact – but the CDC does state that college students living in dormitories are at increased risk for the disease.

Meningitis is a bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics like penicillin, but since it usually presents itself like a less serious infection (lots of flu-like symptoms), the disease is usually not detected early, and one in ten die from the disease, with others infected for life.

I know what you’re thinking: “But Caitlin, didn’t UHS require us to get vaccinated before arriving at Penn State?” The answer: sort of.

Firstly, UHS only recommends the vaccine. Housing, however, does require it, though one can fill out a waiver to exempt themselves from the vaccine. Secondly, there are different types of meningitis. You most likely got the MCV4 vaccine (MCV4 gives better longer-lasting protection and is better at preventing spread than the alternative MPSV4 vaccine), which protects against 4 types of meningococcal diseases, including only 2 of the 3 most common in the US. Thirdly, while the vaccines do work extremely well, they only protect 90% of the people who get them.

While this is certainly cause for concern, it’s not the first time a college student has gotten meningococcal meningitis, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Last year UPenn, Cornell, and SUNY Oswego all had cases around this time last year. Recently, a UW-Madison student was diagnosed with the ailment. But colleges and university are prepared for these things and do everything they can to keep all their students safe, including Penn State.


About the Author

Caitlin Silver

Caitlin is from a small Pennsylvania town called Unionville, which is by West Chester, which is by Philadelphia. She is a sophomore in the Smeal College of Business and will probably major in accounting. Caitlin loves "How I Met Your Mother" and dougnuts.


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And it is quite the experience. When you walk in, there is – prepare yourselves – a wall of frozen yogurt options. You get to walk up to this beautiful wall and vend yourself as many flavors as you like.

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