Meningitis case reported at Iowa State

AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University student is presumed to have bacterial meningitis and is hospitalized in stable condition at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames.

University and public health officials are contacting people who have had very close contact with the student, including roommates. A preventive antibiotic, Ciprofloxacin, is being administered to those who had close contact with the student, said Penni McKinley, a registered nurse and quality improvement coordinator at ISU's Thielen Student Health Center.

People who have shared a classroom with the student are not at risk, McKinley said, because that is not considered close contact.

University officials were informed of the student's condition late yesterday (Nov. 30). State public health officials have been notified.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis bacteria are spread through droplets from the nose and throat and from saliva. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "None of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria (that cause meningitis) are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been."

Signs of meningitis include high fever, headache, rash and/or stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort when looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Information about meningitis is available via the Thielen Student Health Center website,; by calling the TSHC resource desk at 515-294-5801, option 1; and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.