Meningitis Case
Student stricken with meningitis recovers

An Oswego freshman who fell ill with bacterial meningitis was alert and recovering the same day she was admitted to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse last week. She remained hospitalized this week. 

The 18-year-old resident student was hospitalized with suspected meningitis Feb. 18, and the diagnosis was confirmed the next day. 

College officials worked closely with Oswego County Health Department and public information officials to follow recommended public health protocols for containing the disease and informing the community.

Bacterial meningitis is spread by sharing saliva. Staff from the Oswego County Health Department worked with SUNY Oswego’s Walker Health Center to contact those who were in very close physical contact with the ill student in the previous 10 days to advise them to seek preventative treatment at Walker Health Center or from their personal physician. Liz Burns, director of the health center, said that 26 students and staff members received preventative treatment last week.

On Feb. 18, the college posted notices about the potential case of meningitis on the SUNY Oswego Information Line (312-3333) and on oswego.edu, and the Oswego County Health Department issued a news release. Notices were updated the next day when the diagnosis was confirmed. Most Central New York news media reported on the case both days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “Keeping up to date with recommended immunizations is the best defense against meningococcal disease. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not coming into close contact with people who are sick, can also help.”

New York state public health law requires college students to obtain the meningitis vaccine or sign a waiver. The ill Oswego student had been vaccinated against the disease.

More information about the disease and vaccines is available from the Walker Health Center website and the CDC website linked above.

(Posted: Feb 22, 2013)