Bacterial meningitis case confirmed at Methodist University, officials say

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- After a health advisory issued during the weekend, a case of bacterial meningitis has been confirmed in a member of the Methodist University community.

Health officials said Monday that the patient has meningococcal meningitis and is in the hospital.

Health advisory issued for possible bacterial meningitis on Cumberland County college campus

The university issued a campus-wide notification Saturday night about the possibility of a diagnosis and precautions being taken.

The university began disinfecting the entire campus on Saturday. It has since been completed.

"We took this situation very seriously from the start and we were proactive," said Kim Hasty, spokesperson for Methodist University.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.

Hasty also added that the university does not require students to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis.

Symptoms may include sudden onset of fever, severe headache, rash, stiff neck, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.

Bacterial meningitis can be spread to other people by direct contact with oral secretions (saliva) through activities such as kissing, or by sharing items such as eating utensils, foods, beverage bottles or cigarettes.
Preventive antibiotic treatment is only recommended for individuals who might have had contact with the ill person's saliva.

"It's possible to survive this infection but timing is definitely of the essence," said Medical Director of the N.C. Health Department Lori Haigler.

Haigler added that the infection tends to rear its head in places where a large group of people live together such as dorms or barracks.

Any members of the Methodist University campus community with questions or concerns should call Student Health Services at (910) 630-7164.

Other residents may call the Department of Public Health at (910) 433-3645 or (910) 433-3655.

Officials said the best way to protect against bacterial meningitis illnesses is to be vaccinated.

If you have questions about immunizations, contact your primary care provider or the Cumberland County Health Department at (910) 433-3600.

The hospitalized victim has not been identified.

The featured video is from a previous update.
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