Public health updates for the Campus Community

On Monday, April 2, medical personnel responded to a call at a university residence. A single student was diagnosed with bacterial meningococcal meningitis.

Campus Communications

Frequently asked questions about meningitis

Current status

A single positive diagnosis of bacterial meningococcal meningitis was made by physicians at St. Luke’s Hospital in Utica. As of 10:00 a.m. on April 4, no additional patients have been identified. The New York State Department of Health, the Madison County Department of Public Health, and local emergency agencies have been notified.

In response:

  • More than 131 members of the campus community have received preventative treatment.
  • We continue to work the state and county departments of public health.
  • Preventive cleaning measures have been implemented around campus.
  • We have installed more than 60 hand sanitizing stations.
  • We have launched a public health campaign across the campus and online. This includes social media, volunteer public health ambassadors, posters, and distribution of personal beverage containers.

This bacteria does not live well outside the human body. Bacterial meningitis is spread through close contact.

Close contact is defined as any activity that could result in the exchange of respiratory secretions: kissing, sharing food and beverages, being coughed upon. Infection is not spread by casual contact or breathing air in the same room or classroom as the patient.

If you feel symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Rash

If you experience these symptoms, please contact Campus Safety at 315-228-7911 or seek immediate medical attention.

Meningitis information

You can get viral meningitis at any age. However, some people have a higher risk of getting the disease, including people with weakened immune systems caused by diseases, medications (such as chemotherapy), and recent organ or bone marrow transplantations.

Bacterial meningitis is treated via antibiotics. Those who contract viral meningitis often recover without medication. For more information on meningitis, visit cdc.gov/meningitis/.

Prevention

Campus community members should practice careful hygiene, washing hands thoroughly. You should not share utensils or drinks.

Wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Take care to thoroughly wash your hands with the method outlined by the CDC.

Available support

If you feel you need support, we encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:

  • Speak with a chaplain. Chaplains are available in the Chapel basement through 7:00 p.m. on 4/3, and throughout the day.
  • Walk-in counseling:  Walk-in counseling hours are available daily at Conant House from 1:30–4:30 p.m.
  • If you are in urgent need of support after hours, you may contact Campus Safety and ask for the counselor-on-call.

If you are experiencing symptoms (see above), please contact Campus Safety at 315-228-7911 or seek immediate medical attention.

More information

To learn more about meningitis, please visit these resources from the CDC:

Download a poster for your room

Click the following image to download a printable PDF.

Meningitis: Be Informed - Printable Poster