University of Maryland, College Park has identified cases of viral meningitis and viral syndromes on campus, according to an email school officials sent to students this week.
The email sent Wednesday by Dr. David McBride, director of the University Health Center, said that there are "confirmed and suspected cases of viral meningitis and viral syndromes on campus" and that the matter is being tracked by the University Health Center along with the Prince George's County Health Department and state health department.
"We have reached out to the organizations that are primarily affected with information about the condition and what to do in the event that they are feeling unwell," McBride said in the email.
According to the National Institutes of Health, viral meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is most often caused by viral infections that usually get better without treatment. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, nausea and lack of appetite. McBride said it can be treated with medications to relieve pain and headache, rest and fluids.
Though potentially fatal, viral meningitis is considered not as serious as bacterial meningitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and can result in death or brain damage even if treated.
"The word 'meningitis' often strikes fear, but the more dangerous type of meningitis is bacterial," McBride said. "This is not what we are currently encountering in our community."
A viral syndrome is a combination of symptoms that often occur with a viral infection.