Another SDSU student diagnosed with meningitis; outbreak declared
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A San Diego State student was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis in the second case since the beginning of the month, the university announced Friday morning.
A student had previously been announced to have contracted the illness on Sept. 5. County public health officials also disclosed another student meningitis case from June, bringing the total number of student infections in the last four months to three and prompting health officials to declare an outbreak at SDSU, university Student Health Services Medical Director Cynthia Cornelius said Friday.
In the June case, the infected student was not attending classes and lived off campus, she said. County officials did not initially announce the case because it wasn’t considered a public health risk at the time.
All three cases were caused by the serogroup B strain, Cornelius said. None of the infected students were identified.
County officials recommended that all undergraduate students at SDSU receive a meningococcus B vaccination if they haven’t already had one.
The county and the university will partner to offer vaccine clinics, Cornelius said. Information on the clinics will be available early next week.
Meningococcal meningitis is the bacterial form of the illness, and the most dangerous kind. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it can be deadly and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms can include a high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash nausea, vomiting and lethargy, and may resemble the flu, according to Cornelius. Because the disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as 12 hours, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical.
The bacteria can be transmitted by direct contact with saliva, through the air via sneeze or cough droplets or even through speaking closely face- to-face, she said. Oral contact such as kissing or sharing items like cigarettes or drinking glasses are risk factors.
SDSU will continue to partner with county health officials to monitor the outbreak, Cornelius said.