A Saint Mary’s College student has been transferred to a local hospital for treatment of suspected meningitis and is reportedly recovering after complaining of symptoms consistent with the illness Monday morning.
College spokesman Mike McAlpin confirmed Tuesday that a student was being treated but said that the presence of meningococcal disease had yet to be confirmed. Indeed, Contra Costa County Health Services officials said that while the student presented with symptoms consistent with the disease, no laboratory confirmation could be made.
McAlpin declined to give the age or sex of the student, citing college guidelines relating to student privacy. Students who contacted NEWS24-680 said the college was “cleaning up” classrooms and other areas where more than 50 students and faculty had come into contact with the affected student.
An admonition about possible risk to college freshmen at higher risk for meningococcal disease is posted on the college website, with instructions for those who suspect they have been infected to contact student health immediately for observation and treatment.
The bacterial disease, while rare, can be fatal in some cases. Health officials said it is spread through the air and can thrive in areas where unvaccinated people are living in close quarters – most often through coughing, sneezing, kissing or sharing common items.