Two Santa Clara University students confirmed with meningitis

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Santa Clara County health officials are providing vaccinations to students at Santa Clara University, where two students were sent to the hospital earlier this week and were found to have meningitis. (KGO-TV)

Santa Clara County health officials are providing vaccinations to students at Santa Clara University, where two students were sent to the hospital earlier this week and were found to have meningitis.



Laboratory tests for the two undergraduate students came back positive for meningococcal bacteria, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said at a news conference Wednesday in San Jose.

The 10-story, 350 student capacity Swig Hall is where one of the two infected students lived. Due to privacy, students said they're not sure if they were exposed to the meningitis bacteria. "Like I know it's in Swig, but I don't know what floors, I don't know the other activities that the students have been participating in. We don't even know their names," Santa Clara University freshman Jessica McFadden said.



County and university health officials confirmed that both students were hospitalized. The first student was hospitalized on Sunday and the second on Monday. "We don't know whether there will be additional cases or not, but our job is to catch them as soon as we can to insure they get rapid treatment if needed," Cody said.

Cody said meningitis cases often break out in clusters among team mates, dorm mates and from close contact with others.

Freshman Olivia Kaufman confirmed she was offered an antibiotic after she came in contact with one of the students at a party. "They were offering it to anyone who was in contact with the person through like Wednesday through Saturday, so everyone's feeling better about that," she said.

Besides antibiotics, Santa Clara University also will offer free vaccinations to students Thursday and Friday at Leavey Center. New vaccines now guard against a strain called Serogroup B, which one of the students has.

Swig Hall was sanitized, even though the bacteria dies quickly on surfaces and in the air. "I saw people in detox suits come through and kind of wipe down most of the stuff in the building," Swig Hall resident Joseph Hedges said.

A pre-super bowl celebration is still going to be held on campus Saturday where 10,000 are expected to attend.

Health officials said there's no meningitis risk.

Cody said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two vaccines to combat serogroup B that were approved in the past two years.

County health officials have been working with the university to make sure any students who were in close contact with the sick receive antibiotics, according to Cody.

About 10 percent of people die from an invasive meningococcal infection.

Symptoms of meningitis include a sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light.

Symptoms of septicemia include fatigue, diarrhea, chills and severe muscle aches. The symptoms can develop over the course of one to 10 days from exposure, according to county health officials. "We're deeply concerned about the welfare of our students, faculty and staff," university president the Rev. Michael Engh said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the students and families that are affected."
Bay City News contributed to this story.
Related Topics:
healthmeningitisflucollege studentseducationstudentsSanta Clara UniversitySanta Clara
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