On Tuesday, officials at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR reported on a student that was hospitalized with a yet unidentified infection; however, the symptoms are consistent with a variety of diseases including meningitis. Laboratory test results are pending.

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

This has prompted the school to hold an antibiotic delivery clinic yesterday for students concerned about potential risk of exposure.  More than 400 people were screened and 275 received prophylactic antibiotics.

Another, smaller clinic will be held today in the Student Health, Wellness and Counseling Center in Walker Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An email sent out to the college community said, “Because the specific cause and strain has not been identified, we cannot provide vaccine to prevent the disease at this time. The antibiotic will cover more broadly than vaccines would. If a vaccine preventable strain of bacteria is identified as the cause of the infection, we will notify the campus community of the next step in our prevention and treatment plan.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be directed at the student, family, and the medical staff providing his care.”

Symptoms of infection may include nausea, vomiting, headaches or fever. Meningitis is generally transmitted through direct exchange of mucus and saliva and by close personal contact such as sharing beverage containers, cigarettes and kissing.

To be considered at risk, exposure includes four hours of contact within a week.The infection occurs most often in children, teens, and young adults. Also at risk are older adults and people who have long-term health problems, such as a weakened immune system.