Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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March 14, 2008

Oswego County Health Department Investigates
Suspected Meningitis at Oswego State

The Oswego County and New York State Health Departments are investigating the death of a SUNY Oswego student Friday morning, March 14, as a suspected case of bacterial meningococcal meningitis. The male freshman, who lived on campus, was taken to the Oswego Hospital emergency room by ambulance Friday morning.

Only those persons who were in close contact with the infected student within the past 10 days are at risk of infection. Bacterial meningitis is spread by direct contact with nose or throat excretions of an infected person, such as being sneezed or coughed on by the infected person, or sharing food items, a drinking glass, a cigarette or kissing.

The county and state health department staffs are working closely with Oswego State staff to make sure that persons who had close contact with the individual receive preventive medication.

The state health department is conducting tests to confirm the cause of the studentís death and identify the type of meningitis. Preliminary results will not be available until Saturday at the earliest.

Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Medical Director, emphasizes that meningococcal bacteria are not easily transmitted by routine or casual contact with an infected person such as being in the same dining room, classroom, hallway or restroom.

Symptoms of meningitis may include fever, severe headache or neckache, chills, mental confusion, stiff neck, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Persons who may have had close contact with the individual student, who have an illness with these symptoms, should seek immediate care from their personal medical care provider or go to an emergency room. Students may report to Dr. Mary Walker Health Center on campus until 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The student was a member of a fraternity and attended functions or events at various fraternities and sororities over the past several days. Persons who think they have been exposed to this individual should call the Mary Walker Health Center at 312-4100 until 5 p.m. Friday or from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, or the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 until 7 p.m. on Friday. After 7 p.m. and over the weekend call the Oswego County Health Departmentís answering service at 341-0086.

More information is available on the Oswego State Web site at www.oswego.edu.

Information about meningoccal disease is available at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/meningococcal_g.htm.

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