2nd UMass student said to have same strain of meningitis

  • George Corey, director of university health services at UMass Amherst, speaks Nov. 14, 2017 at a press conference on campus regarding two students recently diagnosed with meningitis.

For The Recorder
Published: 11/16/2017 10:18:52 PM

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst student diagnosed with meningococcal disease this week has the same strain of the disease as another student diagnosed in October.

Dr. George Corey, executive director of University Health Services, announced Wednesday in an email to the campus community that both students have the serogroup B infection.

The first student was diagnosed with meningococcal disease on Oct. 24. That student was for a time listed in serious and then critical condition, and is now stable, according to the university.

The second student, who lives in a residence hall on campus, was diagnosed Sunday and is in stable condition in an area hospital, university officials said.

The two students were not in close contact with each other, which raises the level of concern because the two students’ illnesses may be connected through others, health officials said at a press conference Tuesday.

Corey said at that press conference Tuesday that University Health Services is reaching out to people who may have been in close contact with the student and have the most significant risk of infection.

As a precaution, the university also advises students to receive the serogroup B vaccine.

“We’ve provided an estimated 100 vaccines to students and we continue to make appointments,” spokesman Edward Blaguszewski said. “We have a sufficient supply.”

Students are required to receive the meningitis vaccine before attending college, but the vaccine covers strains A, C, Y and W.

Corey advised students to take daily health precautions, and for those who feel sick, have a fever or other concerns, Corey said the University Health Services available to help.

“Don’t swap saliva. Avoid sharing food, drinks and personal items that contact salvia, including drinks from punch bowls,” Corey wrote. “Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth — germs spread easily this way.”

Corey said the University Health Services continues to work with federal and state public health offices and will be updating advice as more information becomes available.

To schedule an appointment for serogroup B vaccine, students can call 413-577-5101 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.


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