The University Warns Students Of Possible Meningitis Exposure
Princeton University students and staff may have been exposed to bacterial meningitis last month when a campus visitor who was diagnosed with the disease was at the university.
The visitor, a high school student from the Boston area, was on campus from Thursday, February 19, through Sunday, February 22. The Massachusetts Department of Health notified the University Health Services that the visitor was being treated for bacterial meningitis on Thursday, March 4.
The University has been informed that the visitor exhibited no symptoms while on campus and that this unnamed person's condition appears to be improving.
Campus community members who may have been exposed to the disease have been contacted by the University Health Services. No one has been found with symptoms thus far.
Bacterial meningitis is a contagious disease, although the risk of transmission is very low even for people who have been in close contact with the visitor, said Daniel Silverman, Princeton's chief medical officer.
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Symptoms include severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, and vomiting. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or may take as long as a week.
The disease can be treated with a number of antibiotics, and appropriate treatment should reduce the risk of death to under 15 percent.
Roughly 85 percent of Princeton's undergraduate students have received meningitis immunizations, but treatment is available for anyone who is concerned about possible exposure or is experiencing the symptoms described above.
Some of the most recent outbreaks of meningitis took place at five universities in England in late November. A total of ten cases were confirmed at various schools at the time.
Anyone concerned about possible exposure to the disease is encouraged to visit University Health Services or to call (609) 258-3141 with any questions.
For more information about bacterial meningitis, call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404) 332-4565.