Outlook: Ohio University News & Information

Student hospitalized with probable bacterial meningitis

Feb 16, 2010
From staff reports

An Ohio University student is under observation for a probable case of bacterial meningitis. Her family has given permission to share her name with the university community in order for students, faculty and staff to make the best decision about preventative care.  At this time, first-year student Andrea Robinson, resident of Wray House, has been admitted to a hospital in Columbus. 

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, 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.

Members of the Dean of Students and Student Health staff will meet with Wray House residents tonight at 7 p.m.  Medical staff will be available on-site to answer questions and discuss prescription options  for prophylactic antibiotics as a preventive measure for those students who may have been in close contact with the student.  Hudson Health Center will remain open until 7 p.m. tonight and will reopen tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

University employees have also thoroughly cleaned the room, bathroom, and common areas in the student's residence hall.

Those who have a concern about exposure or have symptoms described above should see a health care provider.  Vaccinations to prevent bacterial meningitis are available for students from health care providers and at the Student Medical Service in Hudson Health Center on campus and are recommended for those living in residence halls and fraternity or sorority houses.

The Student Health Service is making available the option for preventative antibiotic to students who may wish to receive it.  The antibiotic is a 500 mg dose of Cipro. A single dose is available for $4 and can be added to a student's bill. 

Hudson Health Center is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m on Tuesday, Feb 16. More information on the hours and services provided at Hudson Health Center are available online.  If anyone experiences symptoms and Hudson Health Center is closed, please 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/about/faq.html.*


* Following this link takes you outside Ohio University's Web site.


Published: Feb 16, 2010 2:53 PM

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