Confirmed case of meningococcal disease on campus

Plageman Hall, home of the Student Health Center, offers students antibiotics following the confirmed case of meningococcal disease on campus Monday, Nov. 14. 

Students at Oregon State University received an email on Monday, Nov. 14 that there is a confirmed case of meningococcal disease on campus. The Benton County Health Department is working with OSU officials, local medical providers and state public officials to ensure this does not spread.

Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, there is a vaccination for the meningococcal disease called the quadrivalent vaccination which works for not just meningococcal, but up to four strains of the disease. This vaccination was required for all OSU students under the age of 22 to receive, according to the email sent to all students, staff and faculty.

Medical Director for Plageman Student Health Services Jeff Mull explained that this is not an outbreak, but currently a one case situation.

“This organism is out in the community all the time. Occasionally we have people that become very sick from this. Ninety-eight percent of the time, when one person obtains the sickness, only that one person gets it and it will not spread,” Mull said.

Mull explained common ways that people can become susceptible to getting sick.

“There are certain factors that make people more susceptible, including sharing cigarettes and other drugs and kissing. Get your flu shot to help prevent meningitis, the flu can trigger this bacteria,” Mull said. 

Sophomore kinesiology major Anne Kim explained the way she believes kids get sick and reflects on what happened last year when students became sick during this season.

“Last year we had to completely redo the layout of the dining hall, replacing all the silverware and using only plastic plates. Nothing could be recycled or reused. Everybody gets super super sick at this time of year,” Kim said.

People who were in close proximity with the infected student during the time the sickness started have been offered antibiotics, according to Jeff Mull.

“We have been giving medicine to people that were exposed to the person who had the sickness.

The incubation time and period that others will get it from the person with the sickness is four days, and those four days are almost over with no new confirmed cases,” Mull said.

Other students including sophomore business major Tyler Prock has tips that he is starting to use through past knowledge and information from the email the school sent.

“They say not to share any smoking devices and not to be in close contact with who might have it. Also to wash hands a lot and never share drinks. I’m not really worried about it,” Prock said.

Plageman Student Health Services is located in 201 Plageman Building on Southwest Memorial Place and their number is 541-737-9355. The Tebeau Free Clinic is located on the South side of Tebeau dorms.