On Wednesday, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones sent a message to the campus of Ohio University concerning a probable case of bacterial meningitis in a freshman on-campus student.

Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström
Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

The female student was living in James Hall, was admitted to the hospital yesterday and is reportedly recovering. Hall-Jones notes that she has spoken to the mother of the patient and says she is recovering well.

We are still gathering information about the case, but preliminary results show that the type of meningitis that caused this student’s infection is not the type of meningitis that can be treated prophylactically, Hall-Jones writes. That means that there is no preventive treatment for people who came into contact with this person in the preceding days.

Bacterial meningitis is a serious illness infects the linings of the brain and spinal cord, which progresses quickly and can be fatal. Common symptoms of meningitis include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, disorientation, lethargy, nausea and vomiting. If you have symptoms described above, you should take appropriate precautions and see a health care provider – even if you have received the meningitis vaccination, as not all strains of meningitis are prevented through vaccination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis — though rare and not as transmissible as the common cold or flu — can pass from one person to another through contact with saliva, such as by touching, kissing, drinking from the same cup, being very near someone who sneezes, or having prolonged contact with the infected person. Studies show that meningitis bacteria cannot live outside of the body for more than a few minutes. Therefore, infection from the environment is not likely. Regardless, the Residential Custodial Services staff deep cleaned the bathroom and sanitized the common areas of James Hall as an additional precaution.