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UNC Campus On Alert Again After Meningitis Scare

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — On Friday, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill was diagnosed with presumptive meningococcal disease, which can cause a form of bacterial meningitis. So for the fourth time this school year, students are lining up for antibiotics.

Health officials are not releasing the name of the student because they believe the situation is contained.

They said the student, who lives in Granville Towers West, was treated and later released by UNC Hospitals, and is expected to make a full recovery. But health officials are taking precautions.

The Orange County Health Department is contacting individuals who may have been in close contact with the student.

These individuals are receiving an antibiotic, Cipro, from the UNC Student Health Service, which is holding an antibiotic clinic on Sunday, April 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the basement of Granville Towers South. They also held a clinic Friday night.

Only individuals who had close contact with the student since April 6, 2005, are advised by public health authorities to receive the antibiotic treatment.

This is the third time this school year that some students at UNC have had to take the antibiotic.

In October, a confirmed case of meningitis forced about 2,000 students at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University to get vaccinated. A case of presumptive meningococcal disease led at least 300 people to receive antibiotic treatment in January of this year.

"This is my third time," said Jamaal Green, a sophomore at UNC. "It's almost habit by now."

Meningococcal disease can lead to meningitis -- a bacterial infection that inflames the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is rare but potentially fatal.

Early symptoms of the disease may resemble the flu and include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy. Other symptoms may include confusion, discomfort looking into lights and seizures.

These symptoms can develop over several hours or over several days.

Concerned students and parents should call either UNC Student Health Service at


or the Orange County Health Department at



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