An undergraduate student at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC has tested positive for bacterial meningitis, according to a message from Joanne Clinch, Clinical Director, Student Health Service sent to the campus Thursday morning.

Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström
Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Wake Forest University Student Health Service says the student is currently being treated for this condition at a local hospital. No other recent cases of meningitis have been reported at the school.

Wake Forest is following the direction of the Forsyth County Health Department and infectious disease experts at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to minimize the risk of infection to our community.

At the advice of local and state health officials, preventive antibiotics will be promptly provided to the individuals who have been identified.

Meningitis is a medical condition that is caused by inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It often affects children and young adults, although persons of any age can become infected. A small number of people with this infection will have a serious illness. This disease is most commonly seen in late winter and early spring.

Meningitis is NOT a highly communicable disease. It requires direct and extended contact with the saliva, nasal and throat secretions of infected persons. After exposure, symptoms may be seen within 2-10 days.

Symptoms may include the following: sudden onset of fever, severe headache, rash, stiff neck, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting. Preventive antibiotic treatment is only recommended for individuals who might have had close contact with the infected student.