Jeanne Rosenberger, vice provost for Student Life and dean of students at Santa Clara University in California, admits in a letter written to the university’s faculty and staff that two students of the institution have been hospitalized for meningitis.
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According to Rosenberger, “We learned this evening that laboratory tests confirmed the illness was a result of meningococcal meningitis caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides, serogroup B.”
She said the university authority is working closely with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to identify some other students who had close contacts with the ill students over the past days.
The students who are suspected to have had close contacts with the ill patients are being contacted by the County Health Department and screened for symptoms before being given precautionary antibiotics to protect them.
Rosenberger revealed that the County Public Health Department and the university have agreed to vaccinate students and staff for meningitis.
“The County Public Health Department has recommended that students, who have not received either Bexsero® or Trumenba®, be vaccinated this Thursday and Friday,” she said. “We will be contacting you soon with instructions for when and where members of the faculty and staff, who have not received either Bexsero® or Trumenba®, can be vaccinated.”
Although treatable with strong antibiotics, meningitis can be spread via saliva and mucus of the patient who coughs, sneezes, or engages in kissing or sharing of toothbrushes, cigarettes, and eating utensils among others. The infection does not spread as fast as flu or common cold since the meningococcal bacteria cannot live long outside the human body.
Some of the symptoms of the disease are –
• High Fever
• Severe headache
• Extremely stiff neck
• Red rash
• Sensitivity to bright lights
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Students and staff of the university who think they must have been exposed to the infection are advised to consult their primary care physician or the Office of Student Life for more advice.