UNC On Alert After Possible Meningitis Case
Posted January 12, 2005 4:52 a.m. EST
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A suspected case of meningitis on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has health officials on alert.
Officials said a student was admitted to UNC Hospitals on Tuesday after being diagnosed with a presumed case of meningococcal meningitis. Lab tests to confirm the illness are expected later in the week.
UNC-Chapel Hill nurses have administered the antibiotic, Cipro, to 300 students. They said they plan to offer it for the next two weeks. The treatment is available free of charge.
No new symptomatic patients have been reported to the health department.
A university statement said the Orange County Health Department was working with the student, who lives in Morrison Residence Hall, to identify recent close contacts such as those in the same shared household, or others who may have kissed the infected student, shared a drink, food or cigarette, or been coughed or sneezed upon in the past two to 10 days.
Officials have talked to those people and have treated those students. Many students have gone beyond antibiotics and have already taken a meningitis vaccine.
Meningococcal disease is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection that inflames the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Early symptoms of the disease may resemble the flu and include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy.
Concerned students and parents should call either UNC Student Health Service at
or the Orange County Health Department at
In October, a confirmed case of meningitis forced about 2,000 students at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh to get vaccinated.
UNC freshman Joshua Parker Davis contracted meningococcal meningitis in October. The UNC freshman is recovering at his home in Wilson. He will not be able to return to school until fall.