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Benton County confirms OSU student's meningococcal results

MGN Online

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An undergraduate student attending Oregon State University in Corvallis is being treated at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for meningococcal disease.

Testing results indicate this student is infected with serogroup B meningococcal disease, officials with Benton County said Wednesday afternoon.

“At present, there is one case of a student who has been hospitalized,” said Charlie Fautin, deputy director of the Benton County Health Department.

“In cases such as this this, we find everyone who was in close contact with an infected person and, if necessary, get them treated to prevent further spread,” said Fautin. “We have a high degree of confidence that we have contacted the individuals potentially exposed in this case, and provided effective treatment for preventing transmission of the B strain.”

Since Sunday, the Benton County Health Department has actively contacted approximately 150 individuals who have had prolonged exposure with the student and have a potential risk to contract meningococcal disease. These individuals have been treated with recommended protocols which includes protection for all strains of meningococcal disease, officials said.

The Health Department says they continue to conduct surveillance and follow up with possible contacts.

County health officials said customarily individuals who have spent at least four hours cumulatively in close, face-to-face association with a person suffering from meningococcal disease within seven days before the illness started are at risk of catching meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease is not highly contagious and is transmitted through direct contact with droplets from an ill person coughing or sneezing; other discharges from the nose or throat; by sharing of eating and drinking utensils, smoking devices; or intimate contact, officials said.

“It is important to monitor your own health,” said Dr. Bruce Thomson, Benton County Health Officer. “Symptoms specific to the disease are high fever, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea, rash, vomiting and diarrhea, “If you are experiencing these symptoms, please immediately visit your primary care physician or a nearby urgent care medical clinic or emergency room.”

OSU students experiencing these symptoms should visit OSU Student Health Services located in the Plageman Building, at 108 S.W. Memorial Place.

The best way to prevent meningococcal disease is by vaccination, officials said. In alignment with federal, state, and county guidelines, Oregon State requires incoming students under the age of 22 to have been vaccinated with the quadrivalent vaccine, which does not cover the B strain. OSU Student Health Services and most other health care providers have the meningococcal B vaccine on request.

More information on meningococcal disease is available by calling the OSU Student Health Services Nurse Advice line at 541-737-2724 or Benton County Health Department communicable disease nurses at 541-766-6835 or by visiting these websites:

http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/infectious-diseases/meningococcal-disease

or

http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/DiseasesAZ/Pages/disease.aspx?did=51

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