JMU News

Information regarding viral meningitis


Oct. 21,2017 Update

Currently James Madison University (JMU) is experiencing a cluster of illness in students suspected to be viral meningitis.

  • One laboratory test has come back positive for enterovirus, a common virus that causes respiratory symptoms and in some cases, meningitiis

JMU is working closely with the local health department and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

  • The health department is interviewing suspected cases to look for common exposures and risks.
  • The health department is also working with the hospitals regarding testing and care for hospitalized students.

Antibiotics are not recommended for prevention of viral meningitis.  Sometimes hospitalized patients may be treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

If you have questions or concerns about exposure to viral meningitis, please call your healthcare provider, the University Health Center at 540-568-6178 or the health department at 540-332-7830, x304.  (The health department phone line is covered during evenings and weekends as well as regular business hours.)

If you are experiencing symptoms of viral meningitis, such as fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lack of energy, please go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

**This is an ongoing investigation and information may change at any time.  We will do everything we can to keep everyone informed.

Oct. 20, 2017 Update

The university has recently been informed that a JMU student has been diagnosed with viral meningitis. A small number of other cases are suspected and are awaiting confirmation. Those students are receiving medical care in the community. At this time there have been no reported cases of bacterial meningitis, which is the more severe form.

The Virginia Health Department is aware of the situation and, with the assistance of clinical staff at the JMU University Health Center, is coordinating communication with others who may have been in close contact with the infected students. If preventative medications are needed, they will be provided to those students free of charge at the UHC Urgent Care clinic.

Despite this being a form of meningitis, viral meningitis should not raise alarm the way bacterial meningitis does. It is easily preventable and often resolves without issue in healthy individuals. By keeping up good hand hygiene and other prevention practices, you will help yourself stay protected from viral meningitis and many other infectious diseases.

Additional information about viral meningitis can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website The University Health Center’s Patient Advocate is also available to address additional student concerns at  

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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