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Health

San Diego State Student Hospitalized With Meningococcal Infection

A campus map at San Diego State University, Sept. 24, 2016.
MILAN KOVACEVIC
A campus map at San Diego State University, Sept. 24, 2016.

A San Diego State University undergraduate student has been hospitalized with an infection caused by the meningococcal bacteria and may have exposed others, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.

County health officials and SDSU Student Health Services believe the patient may have exposed others to the infection during sorority rush events last weekend. County and university health officials have notified known close contacts of the patient and advised them to take antibiotics to prevent any possible infection.

SDSU will offer antibiotics for free to those who may have been exposed on Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the student health center.

"Meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, but it is not spread through casual contact. Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "We want anyone who may have been exposed to be alert for symptoms and seek care should they occur."

Symptoms of the infection can include fever, headaches, lethargy, stiff neck and a rash.

Meningococcal bacteria is generally spread through close contact like kissing and sharing objects like utensils and drinking glasses that come in contact with a person's mouth. In addition to treating an active infection with antibiotics, health officials advise that teenagers receive a vaccine to prevent meningococcal disease. SDSU recommends this vaccine for incoming freshmen.

In 2014, an 18-year-old SDSU student died of meningococcal meningitis.

San Diego County has received reports of eight cases of meningococcal disease in 2018. Over the past five years, the county has received an average of 10 reported cases per year.

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