NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Rutgers University student has been diagnosed with meningitis, and the university has sent a message to other students about steps to take as a precaution.
The student with the disease was hospitalized Monday is receiving treatment and is recovering, Dr. Melodee Lasky, University Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness said in an email sent to students on Tuesday.
"Rutgers Student Health is coordinating its response with local, regional, and state health officials," Lasky said. "Those who had close contact with the student are being notified so they can receive antibiotics as a preventative measure."
The student has not been identified.
Students were advised that "meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important."
Rutgers advised students to watch for signs and symptoms of the disease, including high fever, headache, stiff neck, and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days, the school said in the email.
Any students who experience symptoms or have health concerns should seek the care of a medical provider and inform that person of the recent case of meningitis on campus, the university said in the email.
Students can also go to the Rutgers Student Health Centers, including the Busch Livingston Health Center, 110 Hospital Road, the Cook Douglas Health Center, 61 Dudley Road, Suite 150, or the Hurtado Health Center on the College Avenue campus.
Rutgers also advised students that the bacteria causing the disease are not as contagious as the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.
The meningococcal disease, the university said, is generally transmitted through the direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing, and being in close proximity for an extended period of time.
Students were advised to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices such as hand washing, covering coughs, and avoiding sharing drinks or utensils with others.