What to Know
- A student at the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis
- The student, who was hospitalized on Feb. 4, is receiving treatment and is recovering, the university said
- Once diagnosed, meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important
A student at the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
The student, who was hospitalized on Feb. 4, is receiving treatment and is recovering, Dr. Melodee Lasky, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health & Wellness at Rutgers University–New Brunswick announced Tuesday, adding that Rutgers Student Health is coordinating its response with local, regional, and state health officials.
The university said that those who had close contact with the student are being notified in order for them to receive antibiotics as a preventative measure.
Once diagnosed, meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important, Lasky said.
Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease could include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days.
Members of the university community who experience symptoms or have health concerns should visit their health care provider and let them know about the recent case of meningitis at the campus, Lasky said.
Additionally, Rutgers officials are urging the university community "to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices such as good hand washing, covering coughs, and avoiding sharing drinks or utensils with others."
The state's Department of Health (DOH) said there is an ongoing investigation.
People who are identified as close contacts should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease, Lasky said.
Meningococcal disease is not spread by casual contact activities like being in the same work or school room as the sick person. However, it is generally transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing, and being in close proximity for an extended period of time.
"Meningitis can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and saliva. So we need to evaluate students and see what sort of contact they’ve had with the individual in order to determine if they need antibiotics,” the state's DOH said.
The bacteria that cause meningococcal invasive disease are less infectious than the viruses that cause the common cold or flu.