NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

On Wednesday, the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) and Michigan State University (MSU) were informed of a case of meningococcal (bacterial) meningitis in a non-MSU student who interacted with some members of the Ingham and MSU community.

The University of Michigan student attended an off-campus event on Saturday, Jan 22, which was hosted by Sigma Beta Rho at Club Rush, 131 Albert Ave. in East Lansing. ICHD is actively investigating with MSU as well as Washtenaw County Health Department and University of Michigan.

Based on the public health investigation by ICHD and MSU, all individuals present at this event are considered potential close contacts to the case of meningococcal meningitis. All potential close contacts should receive prophylaxis in the form of antibiotic treatment to prevent the disease. This antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended regardless of meningococcal vaccination status and is given in the form of a single oral tablet. It is recommended that everyone who was present during this event receive antibiotic prophylaxis within 14 days of exposure.

“At this time, no MSU students have shown symptoms suggesting an infection” said Ingham County Medical Director Dr. Adenike Shoyinka. “Early treatment for close contacts will aid us in containing further spread.”

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacteria, Neisseria meningitides. It is a rare but serious disease that causes swelling of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain. Risk factors for spread of the illness include having been coughed or sneezed on, performing mouth-mouth resuscitation, eating from the same utensils, sharing food, drinking from the same bottle or cup, kissing an infected individual, or being in a crowded space with poor ventilation for a prolonged period. Symptoms may include the onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, rash, or confusion. Symptoms typically appear 1-10 days after exposure, but usually within 5 days.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of meningococcal meningitis should be evaluated by a health care provider immediately.