University Community

A message from OHIO's Dean of Students and Chief Medical Affairs Officer

October 28 update: Results from testing showed the student was negative for meningitis.

The following message was shared with residential students on Ohio University's Athens Campus on Oct. 27, 2023.

Dear Athens Campus Students, 

I am writing to you today to let you know that we have a suspected case of bacterial meningitis in a student living on campus.  For precautionary reasons, we wanted you to have some additional information about bacterial meningitis. At this time, your fellow student is recovering under observation at a hospital in Columbus. I know you will join me in wishing them a full and quick recovery.  

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 can't 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 were called in to deep clean the student's room and sanitize common areas in the residence hall where they live as an additional precaution.

In addition, many of our residential studies are vaccinated against meningitis, which provides significant protection against the disease.  

Common symptoms of meningitis include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, disorientation, lethargy, nausea and vomiting. If you have a concern about exposure or have symptoms described above, you should take appropriate precautions and see a health care provider. Campus Care is open throughout the week to students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday in Hudson Health Center and also can be reached at Campus Care 740-592-7100. Students can access weekend care at OhioHealth’s urgent care locations near our campus. 

More information and additional resources are available on our Public Health website

Please do not hesitate to call the Dean of Students office at 740-593-1800 or stop by Baker 345 if you have any questions.  

Kathy Fahl 
Dean of Students

Dr. Ken Johnson
Chief Medical Affairs Officer

October 27, 2023
Staff reports