Elon University student diagnosed with meningitis

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- The Alamance County Health Department has been notified of a confirmed case of meningitis in a student who attends of Elon University, according to a news release.

At this time, the cause of the infection is unknown, the release from the health department said.

As a precaution, the health department and Elon University Student Health Services have identified high risk contacts to the case and have reached out to contacts to provide preventive treatment, the release said. No other cases of meningitis have been identified.

“We are working together with our university partners to treat those that may have had close contact with the individual who is sick and also provide awareness to the Elon University as well as the greater Alamance County community about the illness,” said Health Director Stacie Saunders.

Meningitis is an irritation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or other causes.

Symptoms may include the following: sudden onset of fever, severe headache, rash, stiff neck, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.

Some types of meningitis are spread by direct contact with oral secretions (saliva) such as shared eating utensils, foods, kissing and sharing cigarettes.

Some people carry the organism in their nose and throat, but they do not become sick and do not cause cases of meningitis.

Preventive antibiotic treatment is only recommended for individuals who might have had contact with the ill student’s saliva.

Vaccines are available for types of meningitis that are caused by certain types of bacteria but not those caused by other sources.

For more information about vaccines, the health department recommends contacting your local health department or primary care provider.