Student diagnosed with meningitis

by Bill Wyatt


Over the weekend, a James Madison University student was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The student is being treated at Sentara RMH Medical Center.

While bacterial meningitis is contagious, it cannot be spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. Only those who have been in close, personal contact are at risk for contracting bacterial meningitis. Examples of such contact include kissing or sharing a drinking glass or eating utensils. A course of antibiotics is normally recommended for those who have had such contact with an individual with a confirmed diagnosis.  Antibiotics are not recommended for casual classroom contact.  For more information about bacterial meningitis, visit the JMU Health Center’s meningitis fact sheet.

It is important that students seek medical treatment for symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Altered mental status

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days, so it is important to consult a medical professional immediately.

The JMU Health Center, working in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health, has identified and contacted individuals who might have been in close contact with the infected student. VDH and the JMU Health Center will advise those people on whether they should begin a dosage of antibiotics.  Students with questions or concerns should contact the JMU Health Center at 540-568-6178 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m Monday through Friday.  After hours students should contact a local urgent care facility.  Others may contact the Virginia Department of Health at 540-574-1000.

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Feb. 29, 2016

Published: Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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