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NEWS RELEASE

2-2-02

Contact:
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137

UPDATE: MENINGITIS CASE AT IOWA STATE

AMES, Iowa – An Iowa State University student suffering from meningitis remains hospitalized in serious condition.

The student was admitted to Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames, on Wednesday, Jan. 31. His condition was upgraded from critical to serious on Friday.

In the meantime, a student who had close contact with the hospitalized student has been diagnosed with an infection of the bloodstream -- meningiococcemia. The student does not have meningitis, university officials said. Meningiococcemia is due to the same bacteria that can cause meningitis, but it has not infected the brain or central nervous system. The student was not hospitalized and is responding well to outpatient treatment, university officials said.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and fluid that surrounds the brain. Meningitis bacteria are spread through droplets from the nose and throat. The bacteria are spread through close contact, which includes such things as kissing, sharing utensils or drinking from the same glass. None of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as illnesses like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

University officials have contacted people who might have had very close contact with the two students. A preventive antibiotic, "Cipro," has been given to anyone who has had contact with the students.

State and county health officials have been notified of the situation.

Bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability and, in severe cases, death. Signs of meningitis include high fever, headache and stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness. Iowa State students who display these symptoms are being urged to contact the Student Health Center.

Information on meningitis is available at the Student Health Center web site, http://www..iastate.edu/~health/; and the Centers for Disease Control web site, http://www.cdc.gov.

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Published by: University Relations, online@iastate.edu
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