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Case Of Bacterial Meningitis Confirmed At Penn State

Health officials on Monday confirmed a case of meningococcal meningitis in a Penn State student at the University Park campus.

The student has been treated and is recovering at Mount Nittany Medical Center, according to a university news release. Penn State is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to monitor the case, and close contacts of the patient have been notified and provided with the necessary antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a form of bacterial meningitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. While most people recover from meningitis, it can cause serious complications, including death, if left untreated.

The infection is spread through close contact with an infected individual, such as kissing, sharing food and drinks or breathing in bacteria spread by coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms can be severe and include sudden fever, headache and stiff neck. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.

The university is urging students who experience symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

In accordance with Pennsylvania law, Penn State requires all students living in university housing to provide proof of having received the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), which is effective against the most common meningococcal infections. Students also are recommended to receive the meningococcal vaccine for serogroup B (MenB), a strain which has been seen more frequently on campuses in recent years.

Though vaccines are the most successful form of prevention, they are not 100 percent effective in preventing all strains of meningitis.

Other prevention measures including avoiding contact with people who are sick, not sharing food and drinks, washing hands frequently, avoiding cigarette smoke and getting rest.

More information on bacterial meningitis, including symptoms, treatment and prevention, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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