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WSU dorm student may have meningitis

Thu., Dec. 9, 2010

A Washington State University student has been hospitalized with a possible case of bacterial meningitis, according to a WSU news release.

The 19-year-old student had been ill with flu-like symptoms for two to three days before being sent to a Spokane hospital where he is undergoing treatment, the news release said.

According to the news release, the student had been living in a campus residence hall, and there is a risk of transmission to others who have been in close contact with the student.

Whitman County Public Health officials and WSU Health and Wellness Services recommend preventive antibiotic treatment for any of the student’s roommates, sexual partners, or anyone who has shared smoking or eating utensils with the student within the past 10 days, the release said.

The symptoms of meningococcal disease usually include high fever, headache and a stiff neck, which develop over several hours up to one or two days. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness.

Anyone with these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately. According to the news release, cases of meningitis are rare and occur at WSU every few years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis – which can cause an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord – can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.

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