Meningococcal disease/meningitis has been reported with some frequency on university campuses since the beginning of the year (Oregon, Yale, Providence, Marquette) and now a California university is reporting an additional case.
The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) announced Monday a student who attends the University has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease. The student is receiving medical care and treatment at a local hospital.
UC Davis and Yolo County Public Health teams are investigating the case, providing preventive antibiotics to contacts where indicated, and educating the university community about meningococcal disease. Close contacts of meningococcal cases who are recommended to receive preventive antibiotics include people who were exposed to the ill person’s respiratory and throat secretions through living in close quarters, or kissing or other prolonged close contact.
University and county health officials are identifying people who had close contact with the student and recommending antibiotics to protect them from becoming ill. Officials are not recommending antibiotic prophylaxis for community members or UC Davis students in general. Prophylaxis is recommended for people specifically identified as close contacts of the ill student.
The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.
Anyone with the signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek medical care immediately. Early treatment of meningococcal disease is critical as the infection can quickly become life threatening.