North Carolina

NC college warns of possible meningitis case, looks for others who need antibiotics

Health officials are investigating a possible case of bacterial meningitis at a North Carolina university.

Methodist University sent out a notice Saturday night after a member of the “campus community” was hospitalized with the possible case, according to a Cumberland County Department of Public Health release.

The county health department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are working with the university on “medical response,” the release said, and are trying to identify others on campus who had “direct close contact” with the person so they can provide them with preventative antibiotics.

Bacterial meningitis is more severe than viral meningitis, which is the most common type, and “can be deadly,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Bacterial meningitis can be spread to other people by direct contact with oral secretions (saliva) through activities such as kissing, or by sharing items such as eating utensils, food, water bottles or cigarettes,” the release said.

Meningitis is an “irritation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord” and symptoms include fever, severe headache, rash, stiff neck, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, the release said.

Vaccines are the most effective form of prevention, the CDC says, and for those who contract meningitis it’s important to “start treatment as soon as possible.”

Members of the Methodist University community with questions about the situation are asked to contact student health services, and other Cumberland County residents are asked to contact the public health department, the release says.

Methodist University is in Fayetteville, about 64 miles south of Raleigh.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.