Stevenson University student hospitalized with suspected meningitis

A student at Stevenson University has been hospitalized in stable condition with a suspected case of bacterial meningitis, an often contagious and potentially deadly infection that causes inflammation in the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

School officials have contacted other students who may have been exposed and treated them preventatively with Cipro, according to Linda Reymann, associate dean and director of Stevenson's Wellness Center.

High fever, headache and stiff neck are the most common symptoms, which can develop over several hours or a day or two, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's generally treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.

Meningitis is spread through coughing and kissing, but not casual contact. The CDC recommends college freshmen get vaccinated against some type of meningitis because dorm living puts them at greater risk.

There have been 10 such cases so far this year of meningitis in Maryland, according to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. There were 12 cases last year, but an annual average of 21 this decade.

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