West Chester University student dies from bacterial meningitis

February 7, 2013 3:53:05 PM PST
West Chester University is reeling from the news that a student has died from bacterial meningitis.

The campus was quiet today, especially outside the Swope Music Building.

Students are mourning the loss of 20-year-old Sean Casey, a third-year honors student in West Chester's College of Visual and Performing Arts.

"Sean was an extremely talented musician. He was also somebody who could brighten your day whenever you stood next to him," friend Kim Bydlon said.

Sean was confirmed to have bacterial meningitis on Tuesday. He died overnight.

"We're all in kind of a state of shock," Sean's friend Ben said.

School officials say they are working with the Chester County Health Department to identify other students who may have been exposed.

"Those students were contacted and offered prophylactic antibiotics," West Chester University spokeswoman Pam Sheridan said.

Sean visited Penn State over the weekend so health officials there are doing the same.

Bacterial meningitis is not highly contagious, but it can be spread through saliva or mucus and passed by sneezing, kissing, or sharing drinks or utensils.

Students at West Chester University say they are not scared they'll get sick, they just miss their friend.

"His amazing, beautiful personality, the laughs that you'd know you'd get from him and no one else," Ben said.

Students held a vigil for Sean on Thursday evening.

In a university release sent to students on Thursday, Casey was described as, "Quite active in campus life as a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Musical Fraternity, Honors Student Association, and was a well-respected student leader working in the Sykes Union Building as a Student Director."

When the university first learned of Casey's illness, administrators on Tuesday sent out an email informing students.

LINK: More information on bacterial meningitis from the CDC.