A Washington State University student has been hospitalized with a suspected case of bacterial meningitis.
The 19-year-old male student had been experiencing severe flu-like symptoms for two weeks before being treated at Pullman Regional Hospital Sunday and transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane where he remains in critical condition.
The student is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Whitman County health officials have been working with WSU Student Health to identify anyone who may be at risk of contracting the disease. Those who had contact with the student and may be at risk are being offered a precautionary dose of antibiotics.
Transmission occurs by droplets or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Persons who share common residence hall areas – such as dining halls – or classroom spaces with the affected student are not considered to be a close contact and do not need treatment. Those considered to be close contacts include household members, people socially close enough to have shared saliva – via eating utensils, cigarettes, and food – and/or anyone directly exposed to secretions of the student.
Early treatment with antibiotics may effectively get rid of bacteria. The risk to the general public of contracting the infection is very low. (WSU)