UD student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

April 13, 2011 1:15:42 PM PDT
A 21-year-old University of Delaware student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

Officials say he is in stable condition at Christiana Hospital and is responding well to treatment.

Student Health Services say they are working closely with the student's doctor and with the Delaware Division of Public Health.

The student lives off campus in a fraternity house, and members of the fraternity and all other close contacts have been advised to visit Student Health Services immediately to receive a prophylactic antibiotic.

Casual contact, such as sharing a classroom, is not considered close enough contact for the disease to spread.

Bacterial meningitis is a rare, but serious infection.

According to the Delaware Division of Public Health:

  • Bacterial meningitis is spread by very close contact with the nose or throat discharges of an infected person, such as between a parent and child, and among household members. Classroom and office settings do not typically provide this type of exposure.
  • Bacterial meningitis is not spread by handling papers or touching doors, pens or computers used by an infected individual.
  • Sharing cups, glasses or eating utensils with someone infected with bacterial meningitis can spread the disease. However, shaking hands with an infected person does not.
  • There is no risk of infection when entering a building or room previously occupied by someone infected with bacterial meningitis.
  • The incubation period of the disease is three to four days.

    Early symptoms of bacterial meningitis include fever, rash, neck stiffness and severe sudden headache accompanied by mental changes, such as malaise or lethargy.

    University of Delaware students who develop these symptoms should contact Student Health Services, which is open 24/7 whenever residence halls are open, at (302) 831-2226. Employees with such symptoms should contact their personal physicians or go to the emergency room.