A San Diego State University (SDSU) student has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis and is undergoing treatment at a local hospital, university officials report.

SDSUSDSU’s Student Health Services is working with the San Diego County Public Health Services and also notifying individuals believed to have had prolonged contact with the student who has been diagnosed, recommending that they receive preventive antibiotic treatment.

Bacterial (meningococcus) meningitis may be transmitted via direct contact with oral secretions, through the air via sneezed or coughed droplets of respiratory secretions, or even through speaking closely face-to-face, said Dr. Cynthia Cornelius, SDSU’s medical director. Examples of direct oral contact include sharing items, such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing.

The early symptoms usually associated with meningococcal meningitis include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy, and may resemble the flu. Because the disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as 12 hours, prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical for recovery.