A male University student was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and transported to a local hospital on Monday night, the University announced Tuesday afternoon. University Health Services has so far notified 19 individuals who have been in close contact with the student.
The student developed symptoms on Monday evening, and test results on Tuesday morning confirmed the case of bacterial meningitis, the University announcement said.
This is the third report of bacterial meningitis linked to the University in less than two months. The first case, reported on March 25, involved a female student who developed symptoms as she was coming back to campus from spring break. The second case, reported on April 12, involved a male visitor who developed symptoms after having left campus following a visit.
Local health officer David Henry said he did not have any other information not already disclosed in the University’s announcement. He said he was made aware of the case on Monday night.
Daniel Emmer, communications manager for the New Jersey Department of Health, said that the department was informed about the case on Tuesday morning. He added that there is no evidence at the time to suggest that the three cases of meningitis were linked and said the department did not consider the cases to constitute an outbreak at this time.
The Health Department does not know at this point the exact strain of bacteria that caused this case of meningitis, Emmer said.
The University did not issue a health advisory following the other two cases. University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua explained that the advisory was issued this time because, unlike the other two cases, the student developed symptoms while on campus.
“We are notifying the University community about this specific case because it is immediate. It has occurred now, and we wanted the University community to take measures and be aware of what happened," Mbugua said.
Bacterial meningitis is contagious and can be spread through close contact such as kissing, coughing, sneezing and sharing cups, bottles or eating utensils.
While 10 people in total were notified by the University for having been in close contact with the afflicted individuals following the first two cases, Mbugua explained that 19 individuals so far have been notified in relation to this last case.
One of them is a non-Princeton student.
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can include vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light and altered mental status, according to the Center for Disease Control. Symptoms appear between three and seven days after the infection, and the disease may initially appear as a fever, a headache and a stiff neck. Roughly 1,000 people per year in the United States contract bacterial meningitis.
In accordance with state law, all University students who live on campus are required to be vaccinated for meningitis before enrolling at Princeton.