Suspect Bacterial Meningitis Case Reported on University of Idaho Campus

Tuesday, February 1 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho learned late this afternoon that a student is suspected to have bacterial meningitis.

The university is working collaboratively with Public Health – Idaho North Central District, and is notifying students, faculty, staff and parents of the situation.

For public health issues, the university responds on a case-by-case basis and is guided by the district health department in making recommendations and/ or taking precautionary measures.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis usually involve high fever, headache, rash and stiff neck, which can develop over 1-2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness. Anyone suffering from these symptoms should seek immediate care.

Transmission occurs by droplets or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Early treatment with antibiotics may effectively get rid of the bacteria. The risk to the general public of contracting this infection is very low.

University health officials encourage students, specifically students living in close quarters such as Greek housing and residence halls, to get the meningitis vaccine at Student Health or Quick Care.

Bacterial meningococcal infections are rare and can cause infection of the lining of the brain, spinal cord and blood. In the State of Idaho, there are between 10-20 cases reported each year.

For more information, check out the information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at or contact Mike Larson, RN, BSN, Staff Epidemiologist at Public Health – Idaho North Central District, (208) 799-3100.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit

Media Contacts: Joni Kirk, University of Idaho Communications, (208) 310-9736,; or Tara Dudley, PIO, Public Health-Idaho North Central District, (208) 799-3100