From staff reports
A second Ohio University student is under observation for a probable case of bacterial meningitis. The first-year male student, who lives in Tiffin Hall, was initially treated at O'Bleness Hospital in Athens and is being transferred to a medical facility in Columbus.
Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi and members of the Student Health staff met with Tiffin Hall residents today at 1:30 p.m. Antibiotics were made available at the meeting and are also available at Hudson Health Center.
Earlier this week, a female first-year student who lives in Washington Hall, was hospitalized with a probable case of bacterial meningitis. Her case has not yet been confirmed. She is currently being treated at a medical facility in Columbus. Lombardi is in regular communication with her family.
Lombardi said the students don't appear to have had any contact with each other. Medical officials indicate that the greatest risk of contagion is to those who reside on campus due to close proximity.
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.
A serious illness that progresses quickly and can be fatal, bacterial meningitis infects the linings of the brain and spinal cord. The earlier meningitis is caught, the better chances are for recovery. Some 1,400 to 3,000 cases occur in this country each year, with about 100 to 125 of those on college campuses, according to the American College Health Association.
Common symptoms include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, disorientation, lethargy, nausea and vomiting. Because symptoms mimic more common illnesses, people should seek immediate treatment if these symptoms develop -- especially if they occur suddenly.
Lombardi said students who have already left campus and are concerned about possible exposure should consult with their personal health-care provider immediately as a precaution.
Students who experience symptoms after Hudson Health Center is closed should visit the O'Bleness Memorial Hospital emergency room, 55 Hospital Drive, Athens. Hudson Health Center hours can be found at www.ohio.edu/hudson/shs/.
The Division of Student Affairs will provide information updates with students, parents and the university community by email and through www.ohio.edu/emergency.
For additional information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's frequently asked questions at www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial/faqs.htm.