Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2014

NAU student hospitalized with ‘suspected’ meningitis

Officials at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff announced yesterday that a student living on-campus has been admitted to a local hospital with suspected bacterial meningitis, according to a university news release.

Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

The yet unnamed student is 20-years-old and lived on-campus at Hilltop Townhomes. The student is currently hospitalized at Flagstaff Medical Center.

Executive director of NAU’s Campus Health Services, Beth Applebee said, “We have identified individuals who may have had close contact with the student, and they are receiving treatment with antibiotics as a precautionary measure.”

“Close contact” refers to individuals who have prolonged contact of more than eight hours and are in close proximity, or who have been directly exposed to the individual’s oral secretions between one week before the onset of symptoms until 24 hours after initiation of antibiotic therapy.

What is meningitis, how do you get infected and how can you prevent it?

The microorganisms that cause bacterial meningitis can be contagious. Some bacteria can spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (e.g., kissing). Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu. In addition, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

Meningitis infection may show up in a person by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It will often have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light (photophobia) and altered mental status (confusion).

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3-7 days after exposure.

Later symptoms of bacterial meningitis can be very severe (e.g., seizures, coma). For this reason, anyone who thinks they may have meningitis should see a doctor as soon as possible.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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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