More than two weeks after a male freshman student fell ill with bacterial meningitis, the University Health Service reported that as of last Wednesday the student was recovering well.
“He continued to feel a little unwell, but he feels much better,” said Robert Winfield, director of UHS.
On Nov. 11, the student checked into a Detroit-area hospital after experiencing symptoms of bacterial meningitis, a deadly disease that can lead to brain damage and death. Signs of the disease include fever, stiffness of the neck, severe headache and rash.
Winfield said the student contracted Type C meningitis, a strain that is preventable with meningitis vaccine. Although the student received a vaccination before he caught the disease, Winfield said the vaccine is only 90 percent effective.
“The vaccine helped him to fight off the illness,” Winfield said, noting that the student initially displayed milder symptoms. “But it was not successful in preventing the illness.” Winfield added that he assumes the student will eventually return to class.
UHS also treated six students who were in close contact with the infected student. Subjects infected with meningitis generally experience symptoms within three to 10 days after coming into contact with the bacteria. But because none of the six students have shown signs of the disease, Winfield said: “It is unlikely we will see secondary cases at this time.”
“We are through the highest-risk period,” he said.
But Winfield said the University still does not know how the student contracted the disease and most likely will never track down its origin.
The case of bacterial meningitis marks the University’s first in 10 years.