October 17, 2012

WSU student with meningitis in stable condition

The Spokesman-Review
 

A Washington State University student who has a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis was listed in stable condition Tuesday.

After two days on a ventilator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, the 19-year-old Seattle native is breathing on his own.

The student, a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, began to have flulike symptoms about two weeks ago. He was taken to Sacred Heart on Sunday.

Darin Watkins, WSU spokesman, said Whitman County health officials have been trying to identify others who might be at risk of contracting the disease. “Those who had contact with the student and may be at risk are being offered a precautionary dose of antibiotics,” he said.  

About 30 students have been treated, health officials said.

“It’s not a highly contagious disorder. It tends to affect people who, for whatever reason, are kind of run down with their immune system,” said Dr. Bruce Wright, executive director of WSU’s Health & Wellness center. “Maybe sleep deprivation, maybe stress – those kinds of things.”

This is the third case of bacterial meningitis in Spokane County this year, said Mark Springer, an epidemiologist at Spokane County Regional Health District. In 2011, there was only one case reported.

The student’s case is not related to the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis tied to injectable painkilling steroids that has been highly publicized.


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