Two University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) students were diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis this past week, said David Harris, Cal Poly interim director of Health and Counseling Services.
Despite UCSB’s proximity to Cal Poly, meningitis does not pose a serious threat to Cal Poly students as of now.
Due to the level of danger the meningitis has, the Cal Poly Health Center has taken measures to inform students about the disease, even though there is only a small threat of students contracting it.
The center has alerted and informed housing staff of the meningitis cases at UCSB and provided meningitis fact sheets at the Health Center. It plans put posters in campus housing units explaining the risk of meningitis.
“While the risk is there, it is very, very small,” Harris said.
Karen Hord-Sandquist, interim head of medical services at Cal Poly, re-enforced Harris’ statement.
“We have not documented any cases at Cal Poly,” said Hord-Sandquist in an email to Mustang News.
San Luis Obispo County is safe, as well.
“Currently, there are no cases of meningitis in San Luis Obispo County,” Harris said.
However, Harris did emphasize students still need to be aware of the risk of this type of meningitis.
The form of meningitis that has affected UCSB cannot be prevented by vaccines that are available in the U.S. However, there is a vaccine in Europe used to prevent it, Harris said.
If contracted, this type of meningitis can be dangerous.
“This meningitis can happen very, very quickly and develop symptoms very, very quickly,” Harris said. “So, you can go to being reasonably healthy to deathly ill in just a matter of hours.”
Meningitis is when the membranes, meninges, of the brain and spinal cord become infected or inflamed. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion and rashes on the legs and lower torso.