Two students hospitalized for meningitis over holiday break

The University has maintained consistent communication with both the PA Department of Health and the campus community

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Two students hospitalized for meningitis over holiday break

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Elizabeth Worthington, News Co-Editor

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Over Thanksgiving break, students, faculty, and staff received a campus-wide alert from Dean of Students Amy Badal and Director of Student Health Dr. Catherine O’Neil regarding meningitis on campus. Two students were diagnosed with bacterial meningitis over the break, according to the email. O’Neil has maintained regular communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which advised the University to notify the campus community about the cases. Badal and O’Neil have sent out three updates following the original notification.

As of the most recent update, the affected students have been released from the hospital and are doing well. Other students who had been in close contact with the affected students were identified by the University and treated with antibiotics.

While the exact strain is not yet determined, the Pennsylvania Department of Health informed O’Neil that the bacterial organism involved was Neisseria meningitis.

While vaccines that protect against bacterial meningitis are not required for students prior to arrival at the University, they are offered on campus and are strongly recommended by Student Health. Vaccinations were offered throughout the week through extended hours. As of the evening of Nov. 27 , Student Health had scheduled students for all of the available vaccinations; – only small quantities of the vaccine can be stored in one location due to its relatively short shelf life. Another shipment of vaccines arrived on Nov. 28.

According to Badal, the last time meningitis was on campus was in 2014, when a number of students were diagnosed with viral meningitis, which is less severe than bacterial meningitis.

 

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