As freshman Jennifer Cataldi read the alert, it didn’t seem real: A classmate is hospitalized with bacterial meningitis.
“At first I was like, you know, maybe it’s something about the flu, and then I kept reading and it was meningitis. So it was, yeah…” Cataldi said.
So what is meningitis? How do you catch it? Is it treatable?
Dr. Nicholas Bennet is with the infectious disease unit at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. He says you get it from close contact, like kissing or sneezing. It is treatable, especially if you get it early with antibiotics, but Dr. Bennett says it hits hard and fast and is very dangerous.
“You can actually see flu symptoms in the morning and you feel like you have the flu. You can be in the hospital by the lunchtime and dead by dinner. It’s very fast. Very serious,” he explained.
CCSU says they are following the health department protocols. They have alerted students who have been in close contact with the patient. This is the B strain of meningitis, which is very rare, and while the vaccine works, not everybody has it because it is not required.
Below is the full letter sent to the CCSU community from President Zulma R. Toro regarding the meningitis case:
Dear Central Family,
Late yesterday, we shared information with you about one of our students who recently became seriously ill and, as a safety precaution, has been receiving treatment for a suspected case of bacterial meningitis. This morning, the Connecticut Department of Public Health informed us that initial test results confirm the student has bacterial meningitis, however, the exact subtype is not known at this time. Further tests will determine the strain and those results are expected in the next 48 hours.
The Connecticut State Department of Health emphasizes that this is a singular case and is not an outbreak. Casual contact does not transmit bacterial meningitis. The infection is only spread by close, person-to-person contact. Therefore, we have been in touch with all students who have had very close, personal contact with the ill student, and they have been given preventative treatment.
Although this is concerning news, we assure you that the University is working with health experts to ensure the safety of our campus community and are confident we have reached out to anyone who might be at risk for contracting the infection.
If you suspect that you have developed any symptoms as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control web page: https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html#transmission, please contact your primary care physician or go to an urgent care center.
If you have questions, you can call CCSU Health Services at (860) 832-1939.
As always, we will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.
Zulma R. Toro