By George Mauzy
An Ohio University first-year female student who lives in Bush Hall is under observation today for a probable case of viral meningitis, according to Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi.
She was admitted Monday to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital and is in stable condition, he said. As a safety precaution, the university has contacted people who were most likely in contact with her and cleaned her room and the bathrooms in her residence hall.
The Dean of Students office posted a press release about the illness on the university's students Web page on Tuesday afternoon.
In February, two male residence hall students were diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Both men have recovered and are enrolled at Ohio University.
"We want to make sure that the campus community is aware and informed, and to reinforce with everyone that this is a different issue than what we dealt with in the winter quarter," Lombardi said. "Although it can be serious, viral meningitis is generally less harmful than bacterial. We wish the student a speedy recovery and will remain in close contact with her family."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viral meningitis is serious but rarely fatal. The recommended treatment is rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicine to provide relief from symptoms, such as headache and fever. It is usually spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions of an infected person.
Because the symptoms for bacterial and viral meningitis are often the same the flu -- severe headache, stiff neck, fever, disorientation, lethargy, nausea and vomiting -- anyone exhibiting these symptoms is encouraged to contact his or her medical provider for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. If the Hudson Health Center is closed, students should visit the O'Bleness Memorial Hospital emergency room, 55 Hospital Drive, Athens.
For additional information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's frequently asked questions at www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral/viral-faqs.htm.