Saint Mary's takes precautions after meningitis scare

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
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Health officials believe Saint Mary's College has taken the necessary steps to prevent an outbreak after tests confirmed a student has meningitis.

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- The Contra Costa Public Health Department has confirmed a Saint Mary's College student has meningitis. Testing shows the student has symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis. But the test cannot confirm the specific bacteria that caused the meningitis.

According to St. Mary's officials, the student became seriously ill on Monday morning and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

As a precautionary measure, the college has done extra cleaning in areas of areas where the student had been.

"We're suspecting meningococcal disease, we know it's meningitis, we just don't have laboratory confirmation," said Dr. Nishant Shah with the Contra Costa County Public Health Department. "In the absence of laboratory confirmation, we treat it based on the clinical presentation. It's kind of like going back to the old school medicine of -- what is the patient presenting with, what symptoms, and what is the suggested disease."

"We worked very diligently to administer prophylaxis to approximately 60 community members who were in close contact with the affected student," said St. Mary's Dean of students Evette Castillo Clark.

Beyond that, Saint Mary's cleaned some of the classrooms and areas where the student had been.

Public health officials say they are confident the school has taken the necessary steps to prevent an outbreak, and note that the student who was ill is now improving.