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A Duke student is hospitalized after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

A controversy erupted at Duke University over an email that advised Chinese students to avoid speaking their native language at a campus building.
A controversy erupted at Duke University over an email that advised Chinese students to avoid speaking their native language at a campus building. N&O file photo

A Duke student has been admitted to the hospital with bacterial meningitis, and the university announced it hopes to reach those who have come in close contact with the student.

Duke Student Health is working with the Durham County Health Department to handle the situation, the university announced on its Duke Today website.

Close contact is defined as direct exposure to saliva or throat secretions, the Duke Today notice said. Such contact could occur through sharing drinks, utensils or kissing, or by prolonged exposure to coughing, according to the announcement.

Students who may have come in contact with the infected student received a message from university doctors advising them that taking an antibiotic would be helpful “as a preventive measure to lower the risk even further,” the Duke Today article said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bacterial meningitis is very serious and can result in death or disability. On average, 4,100 cases and 500 deaths were reported annually in the United States between 2003 and 2007, according to one study on the CDC website, which also lists full symptoms and how various strains of meningitis can be spread.

Students with questions, including those who have left campus for Thanksgiving, can contact Duke at 919-681-9355 or the Durham County Health Department at 919-560-7600.

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