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Loyola University Maryland Student Treated For Possible Bacterial Meningitis

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Loyola University Maryland
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A health scare on the campus of Loyola University Maryland. A student is hospitalized with a dangerous and contagious illness.

Derek Valcourt has more on the alert sent to students.

Students were warned that one of their peers was infected with a possible case of bacterial meningitis. That student is now in serious condition at a local hospital.

Details about the identity of the infected student have not been released, but local health officials are now evaluating the student’s roommates and other close contacts. Bacterial meningitis is a rare potentially deadly infection that can be spread from person to person only through close contact.

“The Loyola community’s prayers are with the student and the student’s family and loved ones in this difficult time. There is no indication of a significant health risk to the broader community because bacterial meningitis is typically contracted through direct, close contact. Loyola health officials are evaluating the student’s roommates and other close contacts, and Loyola has informed its campus community of the case, the signs and symptoms of meningitis, and how to access health resources if needed,” Loyola Associate Director of Media Relations Nick Alexopulos said in a statement.

Many students learned of the case through campus alerts sent to their email.

“Obviously, if it does spread it could be pretty dangerous. So, as long as they keep it pretty contained, hopefully everything will be OK,” said student Michael Bagley.

A Loyola spokesperson declined to discuss the case on camera, but says there’s no broader health risk to the college community and says they’ve alerted students to the meningitis case as a precaution.

“I’m glad they let us know just so we’re aware,” said student Emily Snyder.

Vaccines can prevent meningitis and antibiotics can be used to treat it. Symptoms include chills, fever, vomiting, headaches, a stiff neck and rashes.

Doctors point out those are many of the same symptoms that can be associated with the flu.

“So if someone has a high fever and a headache they should see a physician or their health care provider relatively rapidly or talk to their health care provider and ask them what they should do,” said Charles Haile, GBMC.

“I guess it’s a little scary, but we all got our, at least me and all my friends all got our shots, I know. And we’re just going to take extra precaution, not share any drinks or anything like that,” Snyder said.

This is not the university’s first brush with bacterial meningitis. Last year, another student was hospitalized with it as well.

Meningitis affects about 1,500 Americans every year. On average, 11 percent of people who get it do not survive.

For more information, click here.

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