UPenn student with suspected meningitis

March 9, 2009 9:42:10 AM PDT
The University of Pennsylvania says an undergraduate student remains in critical conditional at the university's hospital with a confirmed case of meningitis. It is the fourth such case in the past month.

Penn student health service officials say close contacts of the students who need preventive treatment have been notified. They say only those with close contact need such treatment, and there are no additional suspected cases.

Officials say there is no evidence suggesting a connection between the new case and three confirmed cases of meningitis among Penn students last month, which prompted the university to cancel Valentine's Day weekend activities. The university's spring break is this week, meaning relatively few students are expected to be on campus.

Many students at the university were surprised to hear that there was a fourth student infected with bacterial meningitis.

Some are concerned, "It's a serious disease it can kill people."

Others, like Joy Pollock, took the news in stride. "I think the university is doing a good job, I'm not personally scared."

The infected student remains in the hospital in critical condition this fourth case comes just three weeks after three students linked to the Greek fraternity and sorority system were hospitalized with the potentially deadly infection.

Student Lawrence Tanzman was initially worried, "I live in a fraternity house so I was a little worried."

At that time, about three thousand students were given preventative antibiotics. The university says there is no need for that this time, and this fourth case is not related to the cases in February.

Student health officials say they have identified, notified, and treated all students who had close contact with the sick student.

Bacterial meningitis is only spread through close contact, like kissing, sharing utensils, or sharing drinks.

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RELATED: University of Penn statement

Meningitis: Frequently Asked Questions

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