University of Hartford student dies of bacterial meningitis

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–A campus-wide health advisory was placed in effect at the University of Hartford after a student died from bacterial meningitis.

The student, Patrick Chittendedn, was a senior majoring in performing arts.

More than 100 students at the school had since visited the Health Services office for an evaluation, and none were showing symptoms. Bacterial meningitis is typically transmitted between people who come in close contact for a prolonged period of time.

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, a stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, red rash and sensitivity to bright lights.

RELATED: Meningitis alert at Univ. of Hartford

The Center for Disease Control says symptoms typically they develop within three to seven days after exposure.

The course of treatment is antibiotics, but the problem is that meningitis can mimic other diseases.

“You have to have close contact with the individual. Basically less than 3 feet for an extended period of time. Share secretions of saliva with that person,” said Dr. Ulyssess Wu, Chief of Infectious Diseases at St. Francis Hospital.

University of Hartford students are required to get the meningitis vaccine but there are many types of the disease.

“The vaccination is actually very good and it is protected to a certain extent and with the vaccination we’ve seen, since it doesn’t protect against all types, we’ve seen more of a shift toward the one type that is does not protect you because it is so effective against the other types,” said Wu.

Dr. Wu says it is treatable if you catch it early enough with antibiotics.

“I think recognition of the disease, if anyone has had close contact with this individual they should notify the doctor or health provider,” said Wu.

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