Local News

70 UNC Students Get Preventive Doses

Posted March 22, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— About 70 students at UNC-Chapel Hill have received a preventive treatment for meningitis after a student there was diagnosed with the infection.

Junior Karen Ellis was diagnosed Saturday, and doctors say her condition has improved. Members of Ellis' sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, were the first ones to receive treatment this weekend.

Starting today, Student Health Services will be contacting students in all of Ellis' classes with information about the illness.

Meningococcal meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is spread by contact with oral secretions, such as kissing, coughing, drinking after or sharing utensils with an infected person. Disease symptoms include fever, headache, a rash beginning on the hands or feet, and a stiff neck.

Several weeks ago, two teens in Vance and Henderson counties died of the disease. It is not unusual for single, isolated cases of the disease to be reported.