Student Who Attended Fraternity Events at Michigan and MSU Has Contagious Meningitis

January 28, 2022, 8:11 AM by  Allan Lengel

Ann Arbor fraternity

As if we need to worry about another very contagious disease.

Health officials Thursday said anyone attending two recent college fraternity events -- one in East Lansing, the other in Ann Arbor -- may have been exposed to meningococcal meningitis and should take an antibiotic treatment immediately. 

Meningococcal meningitis, which can be very contagious, is caused by the bacteria, Neisseria meningitides. It is a rare but serious disease that causes swelling of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain.

The disease was found in a University of Michigan student who attended an event on Jan. 20 at the Delta Kappa Epsilon residence at 800 Oxford Rd. in Ann Arbor. That same student attended an event near the Michigan State University campus on Jan. 22 hosted by Sigma Beta Rho at Club Rush at 131 Albert Ave. in East Lansing.

“At this time, no MSU students have shown symptoms suggesting an infection” said Ingham County's medical director, Dr. Adenike Shoyinka, in a statement. “Early treatment for close contacts will aid us in containing further spread.”

Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, medical director of the Washtenaw County Health Department:

“This is not an outbreak and risk to the larger community remains low, but meningococcal meningitis is a very serious illness. We are working as quickly and collaboratively as possible to provide information and treatment options to anyone with potential and direct exposure to the known case.”

The disease can spread through coughing or sneezing, sharing food and utensils, kissing or being in a crowded space with poor ventilation for a prolonged period.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, rash or confusion. They can appear up to 10 days after exposure, and usually within five days.

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