First-Year Student at UMass Amherst Diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis

AMHERST, Mass. - A 19-year-old first-year student at the University of Massachusetts, from West Newton, Mass., has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The female student is hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, where she is listed in stable condition.

The student went to University Health Services on Sun. Oct. 31, complaining of feeling ill, and was transferred to Cooley Dickinson. She was started on antibiotics immediately, on Oct. 31.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord that can be caused by viruses or bacteria. In the current case, the diagnosis is of the bacterial type. Some forms of the illness can be fatal, and persons who have had close contact with a patient in the two weeks before the diagnosis may be advised to take preventive antibiotics.

The student''s close friends and family have been contacted and treated with antibiotics.

In late September, another first-year student at UMass was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis in eastern Massachusetts. She has made a full recovery and plans to return to campus next semester.