Close contact over Spring Break could bring meningitis to campus - Purdue Exponent: Features

Close contact over Spring Break could bring meningitis to campus

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:00 am

Purdue students returning from Spring Break may need to be on the lookout for more than their tan fading.

Illnesses are naturally spread when people are in close contact. Spring Break tends to have a lot of people in particularly intimate settings. It can only be expected when students migrate back north, they will bring some communal sickness with them.

A common disease, shared by close contact, is meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. Saliva containing the bacteria can be spread by kissing or sharing a cigarette or drink, all of which happen commonly over Spring Break.

According to Purdue University Student Health Center, “Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord.”

Because of the inflammation’s proximity to the brain and spinal cord, the Center for Disease Control recognizes meningitis as a life-threatening infection requiring immediate medical attention. Vaccines are available to prevent meningitis.

The CDC does not currently recommend mandatory or routine vaccinations for all college students. However, the Purdue University Student Health Center does have the vaccine, and it can be administered on site if a student presents the symptoms of meningitis.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, altered mental status (confusion) and stiffness of neck due to inflammation.

According to the CDC, “The symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically, they develop within three to seven days after exposure.”

Students showing symptoms of meningitis should immediately seek medical attention.

Purdue students may blame what seems like the common cold on the ever-changing Indiana weather, but they should be aware of what to look for regarding meningitis. Without treatment, the disease can be fatal.

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