Miami U. student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

(OXFORD, OH) -- A freshman student at Miami University has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

According to a release on the Miami University Web site, the student is being treated at a Cincinnati hospital after being diagnosed on Wednesday. Meningococcal meningitis (as opposed to viral meningitis) is a serious disease that requires aggressive treatment for victims as well as preventive measures for those having had intimate contact with one who is infected. It is spread through intimate person-to-person contact where saliva is transmitted.

The school tells FOX19 that resident hall advisors and nurses have met with students in Stanton Hall and explained the disease and told them they could get antibiotics as preventative treatment.

University officials emphasize that:

  • There has only been one confirmed case of the disease;
  • The Student Health Service is administering the prophylactic medicine to those identified as having intimate contact with the victim; and
  • Casual contact with a person with meningococcal meningitis does not increase your risk of contacting the disease, but any students who are concerned should go to the Student Health Service, where doctors can advise them and administer the prophylactic therapy if needed.

Facts About Meningococcal Meningitis (from National Meningitis Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Meningitis Foundation of America)

  • Meningitis can be caused by a virus or by bacteria. Most cases of viral meningitis run a short, uneventful course. Most persons who have had contact with an individual with viral meningitis do not require any treatment.
  • Meningococcal disease is a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Bacterial meningitis is very rare--the annual incidence in the United States is 1 case per 100,000 people. But because meningitis can cause grave illness and rapid progress to death, it requires early diagnosis and treatment.
  • The disease is caused by the Meningococcal bacteria, which can also cause meningococcemia. The bacteria cannot survive outside the body for more than a few minutes. The disease is spread by intimate person-to-person contact. It is not spread through the air.

How Meningitis is Spread

Meningococcal meningitis is spread through close contact where saliva is transmitted such as coughing, sneezing, kissing or sharing drinks or cigarettes. Persons who shared a drinking glass with a person who had the disease would have only three chances in 1,000 of contracting the disease.

College Students at Special Risk

Lifestyle factors common among college students seem to be linked to the disease and have been known to compromise the immune system - including communal living situations, alcohol consumption and bar patronage (with or without alcohol consumption), smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke and irregular sleep habits.


Meninigococcal meningitis often starts out looking like the flu or a migraine.
Symptoms may include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion. Purple spots or a rash may appear if blood poisoning has started.