Correction appended: Feb. 7, 2013.
A student who recently visited Penn State from West Chester University was admitted to the Chester County Hospital on Feb. 3 with meningococcal meningitis. The student spent the weekend at Penn State for a conference, according to a press release issued by Penn State Live.
Beth Blew, marketing and communications manager for University Health Services, said UHS has also been in contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to identify any individuals who may have been exposed to the student.
According to the release, meningococcal meningitis is a form of bacterial meningitis that may develop rapidly but that can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms can include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, confusion and lethargy.
Symptoms can develop quickly and it is important to get medical care as soon as possible, according to the release.
“It’s not very common,” Blew said. “Penn State University Health Services does see a case of bacterial meningitis from time to time, but it’s not that common.”
Blew said students who live in Penn State housing are required to be vaccinated for the disease, which she said also cuts down on the number of cases they see.
Blew said the disease is a concern because of the possible side effects.
“It is possible that it could become serious,” Blew said.
According to the release, meningococcal meningitis bacteria are spread by activities such as kissing, sharing eating utensils, sharing drink containers or toothbrushes and by close contact with an infected person.
Blew said if a student sat by an infected person in a classroom for a prolonged period or lived with an infected person they could be at risk.
According to the press release, the vaccine may not be 100 percent effective in all people who receive it, so people who have had close contact with an infected individual may still need to be treated.
An earlier version of this article stated incorrect information provided by a press release. A student who recently visited Penn State was admitted to the Chester County hospital on Feb. 3 with meningococcal meningitis. The above article reflects the correct information. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.