Meningitis case confirmed on UI campus
Sat, 10/14/2017 – 2:45pm | Paul Wood
URBANA — A University of Illinois student has a confirmed case of meningococcal meningitis.
A UI release said the student is being treated at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. The student was admitted Tuesday.
Dr. Robert Woodward, medical director of McKinley Health Center, and his staff are contacting friends and roommates of the student, who lives on the fourth floor of Leonard Hall, as a means of identifying others who might be at risk.
Symptoms of meningitis include a fever of more than 101 degrees, often accompanied by a sudden, severe headache or stiff neck, a rash or mental confusion. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde remembered a particularly serious outbreak in 2008 when two students were affected.
She said the proper steps were being taken.
“The UI has this under control, and they’re working with the state and local health authorities,” she said.
She said the bacterial form, as in this case, is more serious than a viral or fungal form.
Woodward and consultants at the Illinois Department of Public Health have stressed that others were not in danger of infection unless they have been in intimate or prolonged close contact – about eight hours and within 3 feet – with the student. Contact in a classroom situation is not considered close contact.
The agents causing meningococcal illness are spread through respiratory droplets and secretions. Most people have natural immunity to the disease and will never fall ill from it, even with close exposure. Most of the public are immunized against the most common type of meningitis among adults.
Generally, people with intimate or prolonged close contact with a confirmed meningitis patient require preventive therapy. Examples are individuals living in the same household, sharing water bottles and kissing. Secondary cases of the disease are not common, but they are preventable by taking appropriate medication.
There are a number of effective antibiotics, and medical prevention can be as simple as taking a single dose of antibiotic within the first few days following exposure, the UI said.
Students who have questions about meningitis or believe they may have had close contact with the diagnosed student may visit the McKinley website or call Dial-A-Nurse at 217-333-2700. Students also may go to McKinley for examination and treatment.