Employee contracts meningitis
A university employee who works in dining services at East Tennessee State University was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis last week.
The employee was released from the hospital Jan. 20 and is expected to be cleared to return to work soon.
"Meningitis is an infection," said Lisa Ousley, student/university health services director at ETSU. "There are two types of meningitis: viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis. It is not a highly contagious infection, but it is a contagious infection. Why it gives us such concern is because the people who do contract meningitis, bacterial meningitis, have a high risk of illness and even death. Mortality and morbidity is increased."
Though the employee was not involved in food preparation or service, upon receiving news of the possible meningitis case, the university announced that there was reason to believe that an employee had contracted meningitis Jan. 16 in an email that was sent to the ETSU community.
"When we find out, on our campus community, that we have a possible meningitis case, we don't wait," Ousley said. "We actually respond in a very positive way of contacting our local health department, the Washington County Health Department, and contacting anyone that would have any sort of risk, even though low risk, of exposure to this employee or student or staff member. ... So, that's what we did."
In addition to the email, the university screened the 10 employees who came in contact with the infected employee and determined that they were at low risk for contracting meningitis.
"We've actually gone above and beyond, I think, what's required in terms of what our approach has been," said Joe Smith, executive assistant to the president for university relations. "We've got a protocol in place of when you have suspected meningitis on campus, here's what you're going to do, and we followed those steps."
The 10 employees who came in contact with the infected individual have not developed any symptoms related to meningitis.
"We ... contacted the employees that work within that area [ETSU Dining Services] and their manager, and we offered a service, a service of education, of support, of assessment," Ousley said. "I've personally seen all of the employees that had contact, and the positive thing is they were all very low risk. No one had close contact, which would indicate for me, as a provider, that I could offer the option of a prophylactic, or a preventive, antibiotic dose. So, none of them qualified as being a moderate or high risk."
Ousley said that meningitis is spread through close contact with an infected person. The infection can be spread through exchange of saliva or living with an infected person.
According to the university's press release, common symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, chills, body aches, nausea and neck stiffness. The university advises anyone who is experiencing those symptoms to contact his or her health care provider.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More East Tennessean News Articles
Recent East Tennessean News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR EAST TENNESSEAN NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST EAST TENNESSEAN NEWS
RECENT EAST TENNESSEAN CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Over 2,000 Groups Prepare to “Hit the Streets” with Volunteers and Celebrities for National Voter Registration Day on September 23, 2014
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections