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Message from Dr. Karen Nardella
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Earlier this week, I shared with you that a member of our campus community had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. We have now learned that the student has serogroup B meningococcal meningitis, otherwise known as Meningitis B. We are coordinating closely with the Onondaga County Health Department and at this time, the general Syracuse University community is not at increased risk.
Students who have had prolonged and/or intimate contact with the ill student are deemed to be at the greatest risk. In accordance with public health protocol, students who share a room with the student or have had very close contact with the student have received antibiotics. If you have not been contacted by Health Services, you are not at increased risk from this case.
Being informed is the most powerful tool in preventing, detecting and treating meningitis. As a reminder, I am sharing with you key information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
• Meningitis is the swelling of brain and spinal cord.
• The bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis is spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected individual, specifically through the exchange of saliva. However, even with close and intimate contact, contracting meningococcal meningitis is rare.
• Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and confusion.
• If you experience symptoms, students should call Health Services at 315.443.9005; faculty and staff should call their primary care physician.
• To reduce the spread of meningococcal meningitis, avoid exchanging saliva; do not share beverages, eating utensils, smoking paraphernalia or toothbrushes; wash your hands well; and vaccination.
To learn more about meningitis, please visit health.syr.edu. Anyone with additional questions or concerns should contact Health Services at 315.443.9005.
Karen Nardella, M.D.
Medical Director, Syracuse University Health Services