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Hopkins graduate student contracts what could be bacterial meningitis


Students and staff members at the Johns Hopkins University were told yesterday that a graduate student on the Homewood campus had contracted what is suspected to be bacterial meningitis.

They were urged to contact campus health authorities to explore the possibility of further treatment if they have had contact with the student. City health authorities are tracking the student's social and off-campus contacts.

The student, Marcus Dale Weicker, 25, of Oregon was being treated at Union Memorial Hospital where he had been taken yesterday morning by campus security after describing his symptoms to the campus health center in a phone call, Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said.

Doctors at Union Memorial are expected to confirm today whether Weicker has bacterial meningitis, a contagious form of the disease that has killed several college students in Maryland over the past few years.

Symptoms of the disease are headache, stiff neck, fever, nausea and vomiting. Some cases can lead to convulsions and delirium.

According to an e-mail sent to students and faculty members at Homewood and the university's School of Public Health in East Baltimore, Weicker is a first-year student in the master's degree program of the Institute for Policy Studies.

He does not live in campus housing or teach undergraduates but takes four courses at Homewood and one in the public health school.

O'Shea said about 1,000 students at Homewood took advantage of a meningitis vaccination program offered last fall.

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