Condition of student with meningitis upgraded again

April 02, 2009

University Park, Pa. — A 20-year-old Penn State student diagnosed last week with meningococcal meningitis has been upgraded to good condition today (April 2) at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. The affected student, a member of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, 420 Locust Lane in State College, was taken to Danville late Friday night and initially was listed in critical condition. He has been improving measurably over the last two days.

Meningitis, also called spinal meningitis, is an infection of the spinal cord fluid and fluid surrounding the brain. This infection may be caused by a virus or bacteria and is typically diagnosed by doing cultures of the spinal fluid. Meningococcal meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis, usually is not transmitted by routine contact, but is spread by saliva or other intimate prolonged close contact with the infected person. Anyone who has direct contact with a diagnosed person’s oral secretions (such as a girlfriend or boyfriend) or lives in the same household is considered to have an increased risk of acquiring the infection. Activities such as kissing, sharing eating utensils, drink containers and toothbrushes can cause transmission of the infection.

Approximately 60 individuals who believe they may have come into close personal contact with the ill student were treated over the weekend with a one-time dose of antibiotics administered by University Health Services personnel. No further cases of meningitis have been reported at Penn State. Anyone who believes they may be at risk, should contact University Health Services at (814) 863-4463.


Last Updated April 06, 2009