After learning a Franklin Pierce student died of bacterial meningitis on Tuesday, April 5, the Center for Health and Wellness posted a statement on MyKSC last Thursday.
Besides extending the college’s condolences to the neighboring university’s loss, the statement sought to inform KSC students of the seriousness of the disease, while assuring students, “At this time, there is no reason for the KSC community to be concerned.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges.” The seriousness of a victim’s condition is determined by the cause of said infection. The CDC lists infected bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi as the most common causes.
Since the presence of modern vaccinations, preventing the disease meningitis has not been a major threat the populace in past decade. However, the CDC said vaccinations protect against most strands of the disease, but not all.
Symptoms consistent with a meningitis infection are a sudden fever, headache, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and an altered mental state, according to the CDC. The disease is contagious, and transmission is caused by close contact with an infected victim. The CDC cites, “the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions,” like kissing and coughing, as activities that increases the risk of passing the disease to others.
While the CDC labeled bacterial meningitis as the most severe form of the disease, Coordinator of Wellness Education Tiffany Mathews said risk for all forms is heightened when symptoms go untreated. “Anytime you have abnormal signs and symptoms you don’t want to diagnose yourself,” Mathews said. “You want to get the opinion of a health professional.”
Although Mathews said students don’t have anything to worry about, as there have been no reported cases of meningitis at KSC, exercising disease prevention is always recommended. Mathews said staying up to date with immunizations and maintaining good hygiene are the best ways of avoiding any type of infection. Mathews advised any student concerned about their personal health to contact their health care provider or the Center for Health and Wellness.
Tara Nathan can be contacted at email@example.com