Cuesta stu­dent’s death tied to bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY KAYTLYN LES­LIE

A Cuesta Col­lege stu­dent has died from pre­sumed bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis, the county Pub­lic Health Depart­ment an­nounced Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a health depart­ment news re­lease, lab test­ing to con­firm the di­ag­no­sis is cur­rently un­der­way.

The stu­dent was liv­ing in San Luis Obispo and at­tend­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity col­lege.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, the health depart­ment is “work­ing with lo­cal hos­pi­tals, Cuesta Col­lege and peo­ple close to the stu­dent to iden­tify any in­di­vid­u­als who may have po­ten­tial risk of in­fec­tion.”

Those who have come into con­tact with the un­named stu­dent are re­ceiv­ing pre­ven­ta­tive an­tibi­otics.

“This loss is dev­as­tat­ing for ev­ery­one in­volved,” Dr. Penny Boren­stein, county health of­fi­cer, said in the re­lease. “Our hearts go out to the fam­ily, friends and ev­ery­one who cared about this young per­son.”

An email was sent to Cuesta Col­lege stu­dents on Thurs­day, alert­ing them of the death.

Bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis is an in­fec­tion of the lin­ing of the brain and spinal cord that can be treated by an­tibi­otics, ac­cord­ing to the health depart­ment.

Pre­ven­ta­tive an­tibi­otics are given to peo­ple who have come into con­tact with some­one with

the ill­ness, in­clud­ing those who were ex­posed to the per­son’s res­pi­ra­tory and throat se­cre­tions through kiss­ing, shar­ing eat­ing uten­sils or dishes or other pro­longed very close con­tact, the depart­ment said.

Bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis is not eas­ily trans­mit­ted by ca­sual con­tact or through the air, like viruses that cause the com­mon cold or the flu.

Symp­toms in­clude sud­den fever, headache and stiff neck. The ill­ness can seem sim­i­lar to the flu, and will of­ten also cause nau­sea, vom­it­ing, rash, con­fu­sion and in­creased sen­si­tiv­ity to light, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic health.

Any­one with signs or symp­toms of bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis should seek med­i­cal care im­me­di­ately. Early treat­ment is crit­i­cal as the in­fec­tion can quickly be­come life-threat­en­ing.

For more in­for­ma­tion about bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis, visit www.cdc.gov/ meningo­coc­cal

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