Health officials report meningitis case at Elon University

The Alamance County Health Department says it has been notified of a confirmed case of meningitis in a student who attends of Elon University.

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

Health officials says the cause of the student's infection is not known.

County health officials and Elon University Student Health Services have identified people who may have had contact with the student who are considered "high risk" to provide preventive treatment.

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," stated Health Director Stacie Saunders.

Health officials said meningitis 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.

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