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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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Meningitis: Causes, symptoms and prevention tips


Since January 2009, there have been eight cases of bacterial meningitis on Ohio University’s Athens campus. Due to the unusual genetic similarity of these infections, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classified the cases as an outbreak in March.

Here Athens City-County Health Commissioner Dr. James Gaskell discusses the causes and symptoms of bacterial meningitis, and what to do if an Ohio University student thinks they may have contracted the disease.

Classic symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, confusion, vomiting and muscle ache. Gaskell urged students to seek quick medical treatment from O’Bleness Memorial Hospital if they are exhibiting signs of meningitis, due to the disease’s quick progression.

“In our most recent case of acute bacterial meningitis, the individual started in the morning with a headache and within two hours she was confused, disorientated and required transfer to a major medical unit in Columbus,” Gaskell said.

The University is currently working with the CDC to investigate the prevalence of meningitis at Ohio University.

Last spring, the CDC conducted a case control epidemiological investigation on the Athens campus to study the causes of bacterial meningitis. In March, the CDC will return to test the disease’s carriage rate.

“We don’t have a great understanding regarding the epidemiology of this disease,” Gaskell said. “Ohio University has done all they can do to prevent the spread of disease when they have these cases.”

For more information on meningitis at Ohio University, visit http://www.ohio.edu/healthalerts/meningitis/.