UCO Staffer Contracts Meningitis

Wednesday, February 14th 2007, 9:03 am
By: News On 6

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) A University of Central Oklahoma staff member has contracted pneumococcal meningitis, but she doesn't pose a health risk to students, faculty or other employees, medical authorities said.

The worker, who was not identified, was treated at an on-campus clinic last week and then hospitalized.

She suffered from a high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting and was sensitive to bright light, said Lisa Littrell, epidemiology supervisor for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

Pneumococcal meningitis isn't considered life-threatening to the young and middle-aged, and it doesn't spread easily from person to person, Littrell said.

About 15,500 students attend the school, which contacted the local health department about the employee's illness.

Many people have the meningitis bacteria in their nose and upper respiratory system without developing meningitis or giving the disease to anyone.

Health officials aren't sure what triggers the bacteria to become a disease in an individual.

An Oklahoma State University student who recently contracted a more serious form of meningitis remains in a Tulsa hospital. More than 450 OSU classmates and close friends of Samantha Ellerbach received oral antibiotics in Stillwater and Tulsa.

The UCO staffer is recovering, officials said.