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Published On: Wed, Nov 20th, 2013

UC Santa Barbara reports two cases of meningococcal meningitis

The Santa Barbara County Health Department and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) issued health advisories this week concerning two confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis in two UCSB students.

 

meningococcus

Neisseria meningitidis
Image/CDC

The University says while this does not qualify as an outbreak, they advise all students, faculty and staff to be aware that sudden symptoms of very high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, unusual rash, with vomiting should prompt you to seek urgent medical attention.

The University and local Public Health officials are investigating the cases, providing preventive antibiotics to contacts where indicated, and educating the University community about meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to person through respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

UCSB advises any student with a high fever should go to Student Health or call (805) 893-7129 during business hours.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Biological Hazard : State of California, Santa Barbara [UCSB] : Public health officials confirm third case of meningococcal disease at UC Santa Barbara | Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News says:

    […] UC Santa Barbara reports two cases of meningococcal meningitis […]

  2. Georgia Tech student hospitalized and being treated for symptoms of bacterial meningitis - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] follows the declared meningococcal meningitis outbreak at Princeton University in New Jersey and the two cases reported at the UC Santa Barbara in […]

  3. Third UC Santa Barbara undergrads confirmed positive for meningococcal meningitis - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a report Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Health Department announced Thursday the confirmation of a third case of […]

  4. Third UC Santa Barbara undergrad confirmed positive for meningococcal meningitis - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a report Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Health Department announced Thursday the confirmation of a third case of […]

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