Universities Are Getting Hit With Alarmingly High Cases of Meningitis
Then there are the really serious sicknesses, which affect students even more than the dreaded kissing disease. Like meningitis! A fun little virus that inflames the membrane around the brain and carries a possible side-effect of death.
The past few months have constituted the semester of meningitis in U.S. colleges. Typically the disease is rare in first-world countries—finding a home in a “meningitis belt” in sub-Saharan Africa—but since it's spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, and sharing cups or utensils, it, shockingly, can also be found among undergraduate dorms.
Princeton was the first school to get hit. Eight students came down with a rare type-B strain last month, and the college grew so concerned that they moved to vaccinate students with a non-FDA approved shot used in Australia and Europe. (By all accounts, it's safe.)
Now, meningitis has gone west. A fourth UC-Santa Barbara student was diagnosed with the disease today, prompting the school to suspend social gatherings and warn its students about possible infection. This comes after a freshman lacrosse player actually lost his feet to the bactorial illness.
So, yeah, college student living in squalor: Now would be a good time to check on any symptoms. From the Wire:
The Los Angeles Times reports that meningitis causes high fever, severe headaches, rash and a heightened sensitivity to light, and ABC adds that stiff neck is another symptom that could be a sign of the disease.