OSU Student Has Meningitis

Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 2:05 pm
By: News On 6

An OSU student was diagnosed Tuesday morning with bacterial meningitis, a contagious and potentially fatal infection. The student lives on campus in Stillwater. News on 6 reporter Chris Wright reports on how the university is handling the diagnosis.

OSU scrambled to find and treat friends, classmates, or faculty who may have had any contact with the female student, in hopes that this will remain an isolated case.

The word went out Tuesday via a campus-wide e-mail, and was also posted on OSU's website. A student had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, and anyone who had class with her was encouraged to head to student health services for a free antibiotic. About 200 students and faculty were treated throughout the day, some who admitted they were a little nervous after hearing the news.

"I had got the vaccination before I came to Stillwater, but I was still a little worried because I didn't know how bad it was," OSU freshman Jamie Boller.

"I had to call my parents, tell them what was going on and everything,” junior Joel Parks said. “Make sure if they found out so they wouldn't be worried or anything."

This is the second case in as many years at the school. Timber Eaton survived a bout with meningitis after contracting it on a Spring Break Trip.

The infection is potentially fatal, and the symptoms usually appear between two to ten days after infection. OSU health officials say meningitis is not likely to spread through casual contact, but they wanted to act quickly to treat everyone.

"We want to move rapidly, we think by tomorrow at this time we'll have everything under control," said University Health Services Director Steve Rogers.

Rogers says the student's living arrangements may help to contain the bacteria. She lives in an on campus apartment, officials say that may have helped prevent the spread of meningitis, because she does not live in a dorm, she does not come in contact with quite as many students.

Regardless, those who have class with her appreciated the free antibiotic, saying it put their minds at ease.

"I was really nervous because I was having a couple of symptoms beforehand, it was intense, but everything is fine now," said freshman Amanda Likens.

The student remains hospitalized, but OSU has not released any information about her condition. OSU has provided a fact sheet on meningococcal disease and other related information at www.okstate.edu.