WSU student sick with meningitis

School officials urge precautions

A Washington State University student has been hospitalized with what health officials say is bacterial meningitis.

The 19-year-old is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

The student began to have flu-like symptoms about two weeks ago. He was then treated at Pullman Regional Hospital on Sunday before taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. He remains in critical condition, according to a WSU spokesman Darin Watkins.

The case is not related to the deadly outbreak of “fungal meningitis” tied to injectable pain-killing steroids that has been highly publicized. Those cases are tied to a New England pharmacy that compounded the infected steroids.

At WSU, Whitman County health officials and the university are attempting to identify anyone else who may have been exposed to the student with bacterial meningitis.

Fraternity members have been offered anti-bacterial medications.

“We have cases every couple of years,” said Watkins. “It’s a serious disease and we urge everyone to take precautions.”

WSU is not naming the student. Many students are inoculated against bacterial meningitis as high school students in preparation for the cramped quarters of college life.

Bacterial meningitis is spread by an infected person’s nasal or throat secretions. The school mentioned that it can be spread by shared utensils, cigarettes or food.

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