Published On: Tue, Feb 19th, 2013

SUNY Oswego student hospitalized with suspected bacterial meningitis, recovering in Syracuse hospital

Oswego County health officials are investigating a suspected case of bacterial meningitis in a State University of New York, Oswego (SUNY) student, according to a SUNY Oswego news release Feb. 18.

Image/Video Screen Shot

Image/Video Screen Shot

The yet unnamed, 18-year-old resident freshman was admitted to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse where she is reportedly ” alert and recovering”.

Students who had close contact with the student during the past 10 days  are advised to seek prophylactic antibiotics from their personal physician or the university’s health center.

Although it has not been confirmed, the type of bacterial meningitis seen in  frequently in this age group (college-aged people) is meningococcal meningitis.

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 organism and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

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.

There is a vaccine available that protects against most of the common strains of meningococcal meningitis seen in the US.

For more information about bacterial meningitis or prophylactic antibiotics, students can contact:

  • Walker Health Center: 315-312-4100 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays or,
  • Oswego County Health Department: 315-349-3547 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays or 315-341-0086.


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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. Follow-up: SUNY Oswego student confirmed positive for bacterial meningitis - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a story earlier today, the SUNY Oswego freshman who has been hospitalized for suspected bacterial meningitis, has now […]

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