HAMILTON – A case of bacterial meningococcal meningitis has been confirmed in a student at Colgate University.
The university announced Tuesday that the student was taken to Faxton St. Luke’s in Utica with symptoms consistent with meningitis on Monday, and it was confirmed to be meningitis. The student is now receiving treatment at the hospital.
No additional patients have been identified, but the student’s roommate and three close friends have been given preventive antibiotics. University officials say steps are being taken to notify those who may have had close contact with the student, and those people will be invited to receive a single dose of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin as preventive treatment.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes, and some of the symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea or vomiting and joint pain. It can be deadly if not treated promptly, and it can also cause long-term disabilities such as deafness, brain damage and neurological problems.
Bacterial meningitis is spread through close contact, such as kissing, sharing food and beverages, or being coughed on.
Colgate University says the following steps are being taken by the school:
- Establishing a dispensing center on campus for single doses of antibiotics for those who are identified as having had close contact with the patient. This center will remain open for the next two days. (General inoculation would only take place in the event of an outbreak, defined as two or more patients.)
- Executing preventive cleaning measures around campus
- Educating the community about how meningitis is transmitted and how careful hygiene, washing hands thoroughly, can help prevent the spread of illness. Additional hand sanitizing stations are being installed throughout campus.
The university is also in contact with the state and Madison County departments of Public Health.
The Mohawk Valley Health System provided a response Tuesday that said, "The Mohawk Valley Health System has a policy in place to aid nursing and medical staff in instituting the appropriate level of precautions to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious disease within our facilities.”