WASHINGTON – Health officials confirmed Wednesday that a University of Maryland student contracted a bacterial form of meningitis, but said they believe the situation is under control.
“Since yesterday (Tuesday), we have been treating all those who were in close contact with him over the last 10 days,” said Dr. Sacared Bodison, clinical director of the University Health Center.
Bodison also said that a meningitis vaccine is still available from the campus health center to those who are interested.
The infected student, a 20-year-old member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, was listed in critical condition Wednesday at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham.
The student, whose name has not been released, entered the University Health Center on Monday with a high fever and a rash, symptoms consistent of meningitis. His roommates took him to the hospital Tuesday morning after his condition worsened.
Hospital and health center officials on Wednesday confirmed the diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis. This form of the infection is bacterial and not as severe as the viral form, but still requires immediate medical assistance.
Campus officials said that only those who had close contact with the student, such as sharing eating utensils or kissing, should be concerned about exposure. The virus cannot survive outside of the body for extended periods of time and cannot be spread via casual contact, they said.
The University Health Center is working to alert the campus, Bodison said.
“All of his fraternity brothers were offered an antibiotic and we are still monitoring the situation,” said George Cathcart, director of university relations.
Other Phi Gamma Delta members were given the antibiotic Cipro as a form of protection against the virus because they are at the greatest risk of exposure.
Calls to the fraternity house Wednesday afternoon were not returned.