The Greensboro, NC school announced yesterday that an on-campus student has been diagnosed with meningitis and is receiving treatment at a medical center. A full diagnosis will not be available until early next week, so it is not known whether the meningitis is viral or bacterial.

guilfordGuilford College staff members are working to disinfect and clean common areas used by the student. In addition, close friends of the student and faculty who taught the student are being contacted to alert them of the higher risk they may face.

Meningitis can be very serious; as a matter of fact certain types of bacterial meningitis can be rapidly fatal without early treatment. It is one of the conditions considered to be amedical emergency that is related to infectious diseases.

Meningitis is an infection within the subarachnoid space or throughout the meninges. Depending on the offending organism, meningitis is considered either septic (bacterial) or aseptic (viral).

In bacterial meningitis, the following symptoms are typical: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, photophobia (sensitivity to light), skin rashes and seizures. Quick treatment is paramount to prevent serious complications and death.

Permanent deafness, neurological problems and hydrocephalus are all sequelae.

Aseptic meningitis is associated with viral infections and is usually self-limiting. Some symptoms are like those in bacterial meningitis. Enteroviruses are by far the most common cause of aseptic meningitis.

The school advises on the following practices which can help prevent the spread of meningitis:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom.
  • Stay at home and rest if you are ill. This will help prevent others from being infected.
  • Clean high touch surfaces in your living spaces like keyboards and doorknobs.
  • Avoid kissing and sharing glasses and utensils.