Johnson City Press Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Public health officials say no cases of meningitis at ETSU

August 27th, 2014 9:09 pm by Tony Casey

Public health officials say no cases of meningitis at ETSU

Following a quick response to possibly two cases of bacterial meningitis on East Tennessee State University’s campus, public health officials are saying no cases have yet been confirmed.

“At this time, the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office is not aware of any confirmed or probable cases of bacterial meningitis in this region,” said Beth Rader, public information officer with the regional public health office. “We are currently investigating a report of possible bacterial meningitis and have concluded that the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is unlikely. If we do receive any information indicating probable or confirmed bacterial meningitis, the Department of Health will take all appropriate measures to notify contacts and prevent further spread of the disease.”

Rader’s response came in an email just a day after ETSU issued a public health warning in a press conference which Director of Student Health Services Dr. Lisa Ousley said bacterial meningitis had been confirmed and treated in a student and suspected in another, due to the student’s medical symptoms.

Joe Smith, a spokesman for ETSU, said the school is ecstatic to learn that there were actually no confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis and that the school’s response was necessary because of the seriousness of the illness.

“Our response was appropriate,” Smith said, going on to say that they were just going with the information they had available.

Being a college campus, Smith said, the risk and consequences of bacterial meningitis need to be taken seriously and ETSU takes the possibility very seriously.

Ousely had said that as many as 3,000 cases of bacterial meningitis occur in the U.S. every year, prompting the school to require a meningococcal vaccination for all on-campus students under age 22. She called the vaccination the most effective way of combating meningitis.

Symptoms for meningitis include fever, severe headache, nausea, rash, throwing up or a stiff neck.

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