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NEWS RELEASE

Feb. 1, 2001

Contact:
James Nelson, Student Health Center, (515) 294-5802
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137

MENINGITIS Q&A

SINGLE CASE OF MENINGITIS REPORTED AT IOWA STATE

AMES, Iowa – An Iowa State University student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and hospitalized.

University officials are now contacting people who might have had very close contact with the student. A preventive antibiotic, "Cipro," will be given to anyone who has had contact with the student, said James Nelson, director of the Student Health Center.

University officials were informed of the student's condition on Wednesday (Jan. 31). State and county health officials have been notified of the situation.

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. 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 Center for Disease Control.

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.

Nelson advises that anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

"We are focusing our efforts on people who have had close contact with the afflicted student," said Nelson. "But, we are here to address any concerns the Iowa State community may have regarding meningitis."

Information on meningitis is available at the Center for Disease Control web site, http://www.cdc.gov.

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