A West Chester University student who visited the Penn State campus this weekend and was admitted to Chester County Hospital on Feb. 4 with meningococcal meningitis died Wednesday night, a public relations official at West Chester University said via email Thursday.
“I am very saddened and so sorry to report that our student, Mr. Sean Casey, passed away as a result of the bacterial meningitis. Sean was an outstanding Honors Program student in his third year of studies at West Chester University in the College of Visual & Performing Arts,” West Chester University President Greg Weisenstein said in a statement to students at the university Thursday.
Casey was also a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Musical Fraternity and Honors Student Association, according to the statement.
Casey came to Penn State for the weekend for a music event on campus, Penn State Spokeswoman Jill Shockey said via email.
Meningococcal meningitis is a form of bacterial meningitis that may develop rapidly but that can be treated with antibiotics, according to press release issued by Penn State Live Tuesday.
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.
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, according to the release.
Director of University Health Services Dr. Margaret Spear said Penn State has been working very closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to determine how many students came into contact with Casey while he was on campus.
Spear said University Health Services has a list of individuals who came into close contact with Casey, and have reached out to those students to offer them preventative medication in the form of an antibiotic.
Spear could not confirm how many students have taken the preventative medication.
Although other students have called University Health Services with concerns, Spear said the risk to students here is minimal because the kind of contact they had with Casey wasn’t that significant.
Spear said any student with concerns should contact an advice nurse at University Health Services at 814-863-4463.