NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — As Rutgers University students, staff and faculty returned from spring break this week, a message warning about a student hospitalized for meningitis was waiting.
Meningitis can cause serious complications, including death, brain damage, hearing or limb loss. It causes the lining around your brain or spinal cord to swell, and it can also cause blood infection.
All reasons why the University want students to know what to watch out for and how to avoid getting sick.
“Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease could include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. If you feel ill you should seek the care of a medical provider,” said the memo from Dr. Melodee Lasky, Rutgers’ Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness.
The University is also advising students to not share drinks, food or utensils, and to keep hands clean. Meningitis is spread through coughing, sneezing and saliva.
“I’m like using hand sanitizer, keeping clean. Things like that. Just washing my hands,” said Kaitlyn Turner, a freshman.
The University says that anyone in close contact with the sick student has been individually notified and will be given antibiotics to prevent further infection. The unidentified student who was hospitalized on Friday is expected to recover.
It’s recommended that first-year college students get vaccinated before coming to campus but outbreaks can still occur. About 1 in 10 people carry the disease but do not get sick.
“They just told us to be mindful and if we were feeling sick or whatever, to go to the health centers,” said sophomore Kelsey Iannotta.