Oregon State student being treated for meningococcal disease

Students were encouraged this year to get a meningococcal b strain vaccine at Oregon State University. (SBG photo)

CORVALLIS, Ore. - An Oregon State University student is being treated for meningococcal disease, Benton County Public Health says.

"Testing to determine the disease strain is underway and is expected to be completed early next week," the county said in a statement.

There have been three cases of the B strain of meningococcal disease at Oregon State in the past year, according to the county - one in February, two in November 2016.

Now county and university officials are working to identity anyone who may have been exposed to the ill student. Those people can take a preventive antibiotic as a precaution.

"In cases such as this this, we find everyone who was in close contact with an infected person and, if necessary, get them treated to prevent further spread," said Bill Emminger, Benton County Health Department. "We will administer preventive antibiotics even if they have been vaccinated previously. In this case, we have a high degree of confidence that we have contacted the individuals potentially exposed and provided effective treatment to protect them."

People who have spent "who have spent at least four hours cumulatively in close, face-to-face association with a person suffering from meningococcal disease within seven days before the illness started are most at risk of catching meningococcal disease."

Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include: high fever, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea, rash, and vomiting.

Anyone with these symptoms should immediately visit their primary care physician or a nearby urgent care medical clinic or emergency room, Benton County Health said in a statement.

Oregon State students should visit OSU Student Health Services located in the Plageman Building, 108 S.W. Memorial Place.

More information on meningococcal disease is available by calling the Oregon State Student Health Services Nurse Advice line at (541) 737-2724 or Benton County Health Department communicable disease nurses at (541) 766-6835 or by visiting the Oregon State and Oregon Health Authority websites.

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