Saint Joseph's student has meningitis, is stable

April 24, 2009 3:58:45 PM PDT
A Saint Joseph's University student has been hospitalized with bacterial meningitis and is responding to treatment. University officials say the diagnosis was confirmed Friday, two days after the student fell ill.

University spokeswoman Harriet Goodheart says the student has been moved out of the intensive care unit and is in stable condition.

Bacterial meningitis is a contagious and potentially fatal infection of the central nervous system. Those who have had close contact with the infected student have received preventive treatment.

Four students at the nearby University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia were treated for meningitis or meningococcal infections earlier this year.

This is a copy of a message posted to MySJU Friday afternoon:

Lankenau Hospital has confirmed the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis in the Saint Joseph's University student who was admitted last Wednesday. The student, who lives off campus, is in the ICU in stable condition. Family members are encouraged that the student appears to be responding well to treatment.

The University, in conjunction with Lankenau Hospital and the Department of Health, retraced the student's activities to identify individuals for whom there may be a potential health risk. These individuals were contacted and have been treated prophylactically. The student's roommate was treated at the hospital and released.

Bacterial meningitis is an infection that is spread by close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines "contact" as intimate contact (such as kissing), or prolonged, close face-to-face contact, as in the case of a roommate. "Casual" contacts in the classroom setting or as a spectator at an athletic event would not be considered high-risk contacts.

Anyone experiencing fever, headache, light sensitivity, or rash should contact the Student Health Center, located on the first floor of Sourin Hall at 610-660-1175. The Health Center will be open for students on Saturday, April 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information, here is a link to the Centers for Disease Control web site posting about this illness:

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