Local News

UNC Student Diagnosed With Bacterial Meningitis

Posted December 21, 2005

— A UNC-Chapel Hill student has been diagnosed with the fifth case of

bacterial meningitis

in the past 14 months on the campus.

The student, who lives at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, was diagnosed on Monday with presumptive meningococcal disease, which can cause a form of bacterial meningitis. The student is now hospitalized near where he was vacationing with friends.

The university sent and

e-mail message

to students, faculty, staff and parents notifying them of the case and the

Orange County Health Department

is notifying individuals identified as having been in close contact with the student and directing them to their personal physician to receive antibiotic treatment.

University officials believe that parties were held at the fraternity house on Dec. 8 and Dec. 17. They urge anyone who attended these parties or who has been at the fraternity house since Dec. 5 to contact their health-care provider.

Students in the area who believe they may have come in close contact with the affected student or who have questions are encouraged to call the

University Employee Occupational Health Clinic

at

(919) 966-9119

or visit the clinic, where medication will be available at no charge for students from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 20-22 and 28-30.

Meningococcal bacteria are spread by close contact with an infected person, such as someone who had shared a household with the student or had direct contact with oral secretions. Examples of close contact include kissing, sharing a drink or food, sharing a cigarette, or being coughed or sneezed upon. Officials do not believe that this latest case is related to the four previous occurances.

Common symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headache and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. Anyone exhibiting these signs and symptoms - even if previously vaccinated - is advised to see a doctor immediately.

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