By Maggie Vancampen —

Director of Media Relations for the Office of Communications and Marketing John Karman said the student has been released from the hospital as of March 19. No other students have reported symptoms.

University officials confirmed March 8 a dorm resident had been diagnosed and hospitalized with highly-contagious bacterial meningococcal meningitis. No updates on the student have been stated.
The residential hall and student were not identified. The email said the student’s roommate has not shown any symptoms and is being given preventative care.

Dr. Phillip Bressoud, executive director of Campus Health Services, said that high risk students were notified and offered prophylactic antibiotics by either the health department or Campus Health Services.
“Providers who care for children, adolescents and young adults are always considering meningitis in the assessment of any patient with fever, headache and neck stiffness,” said Bressoud. “These classic signs of meningitis are a red flag for health care providers.”

The email outlined some symptoms, including nausea, headaches, fevers and vomiting. A rash that looks like purple spots on the body may also appear.

Bressoud said any patients that describe these symptoms are quickly seen and referred to the emergency department. If students call they recommend to go to the hospital immediately.

Meningitis is a bacteria that can affect the brain and spinal cord. Types B, C and Y are the most prominent in the United States.

The email said, “In the US, approximately 800-1,500 people are infected with meningococcal meningitis and 120 die from the disease per year.”

The email also said, “Bacterial meningitis is contagious but is only transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory or throat secretions.”

The email said coughing, kissing and drinking after each other are the main ways the bacteria spreads.

Bressoud said, “By far the most common cause of meningitis in the college age group are viruses.” Meningitis can also be caused by bacteria and other infections.

The email said the best way to prevent contamination is through vaccination and consistent hand washing. It cautioned against sharing anything that’s been close to someone’s mouth like lip balm, water bottles, smoking materials and eating utensils.

John Drees, interim senior associate vice president of communications and marketing, said, “We are always concerned when one of our students presents with a serious illness.”

“Our top priorities are to get that student treatment as soon as possible and to identify and protect those who may be a risk.”

Contact Campus Health Services at 502-852-6479 or your health care provider for additional questions and concerns.

File Photo/The Louisville Cardinal