Viral meningitis is less threatening than its cousin, bacterial meningitis.| Nha Ha/Mustang News

On Nov. 6, Cal Poly Health Services announced that it has been monitoring five cases of viral meningitis in Cal Poly students.

There are two types of meningitis: viral and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is more threatening because it cannot be treated by vaccines or antibiotics. No cases of bacterial meningitis have been reported.

University Health Services and County Health Department officials have been proactive in assessing the infection, according to a press release by Dr. Karen Hord-Sandquist, medical director for Campus Health and WellBeing.

If any students are experiencing symptoms of severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, light sensitivity and associated dehydrations, they should seek immediate medical attention. The recovery period will be within one or two weeks with no long-term effects.

The threat of a serious illness is scary, business administration sophomore Madison Jordan said, and is especially problematic during the academic year.

“With the stress from midterms, it would be inconvenient to get sick in the first place,” Jordan said. “So the fact that there is a serious illness going around makes it more stressful.”

According to the Campus Health and Wellbeing website, if students feel that you have been exposed to meningitis and do not have a fever, they should go to the Health Center or their primary healthcare provider. If they have a fever, they should go to the nearest emergency room.

“I feel like everyone gets sick especially during Week 7 of school one way or another,” business administration junior Kyle Heuerman said. “If students get sick or have any symptoms, they now have to worry about potentially going to the emergency room.”

Due to the rapid spread of the infection, early diagnosis is important for successful treatment — especially for bacterial meningitis, which can result in prolonged hospitalization.

Bacterial meningitis has similar symptoms, and it can be transmitted through intimate contact with an infected individual such as kissing or sharing glasses, cups, silverware or toothbrushes.

“We recommend good handwashing, and avoid sharing food/drinks/saliva as the best way to prevent most viral illness,” Hord-Sandquist said in an email to Mustang News.

A Cal Poly student contracted viral meningitis in December 2013 approximately two weeks after UC Santa Barbara lacrosse player Aaron Loy had his feet amputated because of bacterial meningitis. A Cal Poly faculty member was also diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in January 2015. The Health Center has quarantined infected people in the past.

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