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Bacterial meningitis case concerns campus

Published (Volume 76, No. 29)

Credit: Source: Center for Disease Control

An unnamed student contracts disease; several given antibiotics to ward off infection

Credit: Source: Center for Disease Control

A University of Tennessee at Martin student being treated as an outpatient for bacterial meningitis, is in “good condition” and is no longer contagious, however, university officials continue to take every precaution to ensure other students, faculty, staff and the community are protected.

Persons identified as the student’s “direct contacts” are receiving the prescribed antibiotic as a precaution from university officials. Twenty-four hours after taking the antibiotic, a person is no longer contagious.

“Our main concern is the health of this student, as well as the health of others on campus and in the community,” said Dr. Nick Dunagan, UT Martin chancellor. “We are very pleased that the student is doing well.

“As soon as we learned of the student’s diagnosis Wednesday, the student health center began working with state and local agencies to make sure all appropriate actions were taken and any potential ‘direct contacts’ with the student received antibiotics as a precaution,” Dunagan added.

It is unknown how the student, whose name has not been released, contracted meningitis, however, the student was diagnosed while at home last weekend.

Shannon Deal, director of student health services, was notified of the student’s condition Wednesday morning by the Weakley County Health Department. She immediately met with persons identified as “direct contacts,” providing information about the infection and its treatment. The oral antibiotic was ordered and administered to those persons by the student health staff and health department officials. Deal also interviewed the student, who she termed in “good condition.”

Bacterial meningitis is transmitted by oral secretions, such as kissing or sharing a utensil or drinking cup with a contagious person.

The campus community and city officials were alerted about the case as a precautionary measure.

“University officials have been proactive since learning about the student’s diagnosis, contacting those directly affected, as well as others,” said David Belote, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.

Several major campus events are planned for the balance of the week and weekend. “To my knowledge, there is no reason to limit campus activities,” said Dr. Shavetta Conner, regional health officer.

For more information, contact the UT Martin Department of Public Safety at 731-587-7777.