Rutgers University student hospitalized with bacterial meningitis

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Officials say a Rutgers University student is being treated for bacterial meningitis.

The university told students and staff in an alert on Monday that the student was hospitalized on Friday. Those who may have come in contact with the student are being notified so they can obtain a preventative round of antibiotics.

The student wasn't immediately identified.

Bacterial meningitis is typically more severe than viral meningitis. Both cause inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Campus Community,

This message is to alert members of the University community that a student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus).

The student, who was hospitalized on March 18, is receiving treatment and is recovering. Rutgers Health Services is coordinating its response with local, regional and state health officials. Those who had close contact with the student are being notified so they can receive antibiotics as a preventative measure.

The meningococcus can cause severe illnesses that may include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Once diagnosed, meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important. Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease could include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. If you feel ill you should seek the care of a medical provider. Let your provider know about the recent case of meningitis on campus.

Members of the University community who experience symptoms or have health concerns may visit their health care provider. Students may visit Rutgers Health Services Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hurtado Health Center and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Busch/Livingston Health Center and the Cook/Douglass Health Center ( Faculty and Staff at Rutgers University-New Brunswick who have additional questions or concerns can contact the Occupational Health Department at 848-932-8254, or consult the resources below.

More information about meningococcal disease is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (, at the New Jersey Department of Health website ( and on the Rutgers Health Services website (

The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are not as contagious as the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with the disease has been. Meningococcal disease is generally transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing and being in close proximity for an extended period of time.

Rutgers University Health Services is encouraging members of the university community to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices such as good hand washing, covering coughs and avoiding sharing drinks or utensils with others.

We will provide additional information and recommendations as they become available.


Melodee Lasky, MD

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health & Wellness