News and Analysis

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 7:51 p.m.

Case of meningitis identified on campus

Updated, Dec. 16, 11:50 a.m.

The University announced Friday that a graduate student died from a confirmed a case of meningococcal meningitis.

The infected student lived off campus, according to a University announcement made Thursday.

The University advised about 35 others who have been in close contact with the contagious person to be screened for the disease, the symptoms of which include high fever and headache.

The condition can be treated with antibiotics if identified early, but if left untreated can cause brain damage, blood infection and death.

Meningitis can be transmitted through prolonged close contact, including kissing, coughing and sneezing or being within three feet of an infected person for more than eight hours, Director of Student Health Service Isabel Goldenberg said.

There are about 3,000 cases of meningococcal meningitis in the United States each year. In 18- to 34-year-olds, more than 16 percent of people who become infected die.

  • Lynn Bozof

    I hope that this student recovers, because I know firsthand how deadly this disease is. I lost my 20 year old son, a college junior and honor student, to this disease. At the time, I did not know that this disease is potentially vaccine preventable. The CDC recommends routine vaccination starting at age 11-12, with a booster dose in 5 years. All students entering college should have been vaccinated in the past 5 years. Don’t let this tragedy happen to you. Visit the National Meningitis Association for more information.

  • Julian

    this story is so sad.

  • Alex

  • GWUndergrad

    We actually just got an email informing us that the student had died but out of respect they didn’t mention it in yesterday’s email. My prayers go out to the family of that student.

  • Tony

    I thought meningitis shots were required for students entering GW, undergrad or graduate?

    My condolences to the family in this time of grief.

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