A Syracuse University student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, according to Karen Nardella, M.D., Medical Director with Syracuse University Health Services.

Image/SU Twitter
Image/SU Twitter

The student has since left campus and is currently being treated at a hospital near the student’s hometown.

School officials did not specify the etiology of the meningitis.

Immediately upon learning this news, the University activated its response protocol, Dr Nardella notes. This includes notifying students who live with the student or may have come into contact with the student, and administering antibiotics to students who have had close contact with the ill student as per public health protocols. Students who have had prolonged contact with the ill student are deemed to be at the greatest risk.

According to the CDC, meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling.

The bacterium that causes meningitis is spread to other people by sharing respiratory and throat secretions (saliva or spit). Generally, it takes close (for example, coughing or kissing) or prolonged contact to spread the bacterium.

The most common symptoms of meningitis include sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and confusion.