A second student at the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis this month.
The student, who was hospitalized on Feb. 23, is receiving treatment, the university announced Monday, adding that Rutgers Student Health Services is continuously monitoring the situation and is coordinating its response with local, state and regional health officials.
This marks the second bacterial meningitis diagnosis this month in the New Brunswick campus of the state university. The first student was hospitalized and diagnosed on Feb. 4. That student has been released from the hospital, according to the university.
The university said that those who had close contact with the student are being notified in order for them to receive antibiotics as a preventative measure.
Public health officials are investigating to determine whether the two cases may be linked. The first student was diagnosed with meningitis type B, the university said, adding that the serogroup of meningitis that infected the second student has not yet been determined.
Vaccination is the best protection against meningococcal disease. The most common vaccine protects against four variations of the bacteria, known as types A, C, W and Y, school officials say. This vaccine does not protect against meningitis type B.
Once diagnosed, meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important.
Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease could include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days.
Members of the university community who experience symptoms or have health concerns should visit their health care provider and let them know about the recent case of meningitis at the campus, according to school officials.
Meningococcal disease is not spread by casual contact activities like being in the same work or school room as the sick person. However, it is generally transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing, and being in close proximity for an extended period of time.
"Meningitis can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and saliva. So we need to evaluate students and see what sort of contact they’ve had with the individual in order to determine if they need antibiotics,” the state's DOH said after the first meningitis case at the university earlier this month.
The bacteria that cause meningococcal invasive disease are less infectious than the viruses that cause the common cold or flu.