The Public Health Department, in cooperation with the Cal-Poly Health Center, is carefully monitoring a number of cases of viral meningitis in students associated with the University. Since late October, five cases of viral meningitis have been diagnosed in University students, with four hospitalizations. Other cases of suspected viral meningitis have also been seen at the campus health center, however, there is no evidence of bacterial meningitis.
Viral meningitis, which has been identified in students, is not as dangerous as bacterial meningitis, and cannot be treated by antibiotics. Cases of viral meningitis typically have severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and can involve dehydration. Cases being monitored have also complained of a sore throat. Viral meningitis is treated with supportive care, which includes pain management, rest, and fluids. Recovery from viral meningitis typically takes 7 to 10 days.
There is no vaccine against viral meningitis. Vaccines for meningitis are targeted at bacterial meningitis, which is not the diagnosis in these cases. To prevent the spread of viral meningitis, people are urged to wash their hands, avoid touching their face with unwashed hands, stay home when you feel ill, avoid hugging and kissing ill persons, and avoid sharing cups and utensils.
The California Department of Public Health has been notified, and any available samples will be forwarded for testing for viral pathogens. All cases of viral meningitis are reportable to the Public Health Department. Persons feeling unwell with symptoms of meningitis such as severe headache, stiff neck and sensitivity to light are urged to see a medical provider to rule out bacterial meningitis.
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