WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A suspected case of meningitis has been reported at Monmouth University.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, the university was notified late Wednesday that an employee is believed to have contracted the condition. The man works in the controller’s office and a cleaning crew was sent in immediately.
“And did a cleaning and sanitizing of the area,” school vice president Mary Anne Nagy told Haskell. “The university has sought the involvement of all the experts in this.”
The worker is hospitalized and said to be in grave condition.
The university has already had an open meeting with students.
“We want to also make sure that people understood it is not spread through casual contact,” said Nagy. “We will continue to be vigilant.”
Still, some students said they were worried.
“Especially because the school is so small,” Nicole Desarno, of Garden City, Long Island, told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
Meningitis can cause severe swelling around the brain and spinal cord. It can be spread by kissing, coughing and lengthy contact. Symptoms include a high fever, severe headaches and a stiff neck.
The school says state and regional health officials have been notified, and they are in touch with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help guide the university’s response.
A school spokeswoman says it is unclear which strain of meningitis the employee might have contracted. The state health department said it will take a few days to make a determination.
The case comes as Princeton University is dealing with several reported cases of meningitis.
Princeton officials said earlier this week they’ve been given permission by health officials to make available a vaccine for type B meningococcal bacteria that hasn’t been approved in the U.S.
Health officials do not believe the strains at Monmouth and Princeton are the same.
In the meantime, students on both campuses are being reminded to practice good hygiene. At the Monmouth dining hall, for example, students are ordered not to share eating utensils or cups, to cover their coughs and to wash their hands.”
Nick Whittaker, a sophomore dorm resident assistant, was told to keep a close watch on students, adding that his No. 1 job is to make sure no one panics.
“If anyone feels like they’re coming down with anything or if anyone feels scared, talk to them, report it to my area coordinator,” he said.
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