One Colorado State University student has died of suspected bacterial meningitis and a second student is ill with what officials believe also may be meningitis. The Larimer County Department of Health is currently testing for information about the strains of meningitis, but at this time that information is not available. CSU officials and health department officials are working as quickly as possible to identify individuals who may have been exposed.
Both of the students became ill yesterday. Christina Adame, who lived off campus, passed away at 2 a.m. today after being hospitalized at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19. A second student, who lives in the C-wing of Corbett Hall, remains in ICU at Poudre Valley Hospital. Health officials suspect Adame had bacterial meningitis. Health officials also report that both students had received vaccination for meningitis.
At this time, CSU and Larimer County Department of Health do not know if there is a connection between the two students. CSU is working to make contact with individuals who may have been exposed through friendships and living and working arrangements with these two individuals and getting them prophylactic treatment of an antibiotic. In addition, although meningitis survives for only a short amount of time outside of the body and is ONLY spread through saliva, precautionary measures such as extra cleaning are being taken in living and working areas for both students.
Meningitis is spread through direct contact with saliva. It is not spread through casual contact or through the air. People who are considered at risk of exposure are those who share:
– a household,
– drinking containers,
– eating utensils,
– sleeping areas
– cigarettes or pipes, including hookahs,
– water bottles,
– a child care center with someone who is exposed,
– or have kissed someone who has become ill.
The deceased student also worked at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and officials are investigating for people who may have been exposed. Veterinary Teaching Hospital clients and pets are NOT considered to be at risk.
College-aged individuals are at particular risk of contracting meningitis. Symptoms include fever, headache, loss of appetite, neck stiffness, discomfort when looking into bright lights, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, aching or sore muscles, difficulty walking, general malaise, drowsiness, confusion, collapse, rash of red-purple pinprick spots or larger bruises, painful or swollen joints, and moaning, unintelligent speech.
If students believe they may have been exposed, they should call CSU Health Network at 970-491-2147 or visit the Hartshorn Building. If students believe they have symptoms, they should go to Hartshorn during business hours or to the emergency room. Employees or members of the public who are concerned that they may have been exposed should call the Larimer County Health Department. Anyone who has been exposed can receive preventative treatment and if they have not been vaccinated, can consider getting vaccinated.
More information about meningitis and the university’s response is available at www.safety.colostate.edu or http://larimer.org/health/meningoccal_faq.pdf.