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Meningitis case at UC Riverside prompts student health warning

UC Riverside officials are in the process of notifying anyone on campus who may have had contact with a student advisor who was diagnosed with meningitis this past weekend.

A campus spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the advisor has been hospitalized, but the severity of the case is unknown.

The announcement came days after UC Santa Barbara announced a fourth case of meningitis among its students. While most were expected to fully recover, one of them, a freshman lacrosse player, had to have his feet amputated.

Officials at Princeton University have also battling an outbreak of a similar bacteria contracted by eight students at the Ivy League campus since March.

The bacterial infection causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can cause long-term damage and death. Symptoms include sudden high fever, severe headache and a painful stiffness in the neck.

It is transmitted via bodily fluids, such as saliva, so students were being urged to keep high standards of hygiene and to be proactive about getting medical care.

At UC Santa Barbara, students were being urged to avoid social gatherings, while sororities and fraternities were advised against holding parties and other events to avoid transmission of the disease.

“People need to get a lot of rest and not share anything with saliva on it, like drinking cups,” said UC Riverside spokeswoman Kris Lovekin. “It’s very important every day, but especially right now, to make sure hygiene is on their minds.”

Although the strain of bacterial meningitis the advisor contracted had yet to be confirmed, Lovekin said it is spread through saliva, which likely helped limit its potential spread.

UC Riverside is home to nearly 22,000 students.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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