In a follow-up to the confirmed meningococcal meningitis case in a Providence College student earlier this week, the school and the Rhode Island Health Department (HEALTH) report of a probable second case of the serious bacterial infection in a student.

Image/ National Atlas of the United States
Image/ National Atlas of the United States

The unnamed has been admitted to a hospital in Rhode Island. The latest from Providence officials is that both students remain hospitalized.

HEALTH is coordinating its response with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Providence College. As with the first case, those who had close contact with the student are being notified so they can receive appropriate care.

“Meningitis is an uncommon but serious infection,” said Michael Fine, M.D., Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. “We are working closely with Providence College in administering antibiotics to students on campus who were in close contact with the two individuals who are sick.”

“We have expanded the hours of our Student Health Center to 24/7 to respond to students who present with symptoms, to interview those students who have been in close contact with the students who are ill, and to provide prophylactic treatment as necessary,” said Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of Providence College. “We are also taking a number of steps to educate and inform our campus community via various communication channels.”

Providence College said in a health advisory Thursday:

This is a serious health matter, and we are working closely and collaboratively with the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address this issue.  As noted in last week’s email, meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  Health officials notified us today that the meningitis vaccination, which many students received prior to coming to campus in September, is not effective in protecting against the Group B strain which was identified in one of our students.  There is now a vaccine available for Group B meningitis.  This vaccine is approved for persons between the ages of 10 and 25, and those persons above the age of 25 who are immunocompromised.

Related: Bexsero, meningitis B vaccine gets FDA approval

Providence College students are directed to call the Providence College Health Center at 401-865-2422 with any questions.