Administrators have just learned of a confirmed case of viral meningitis of a UTPA student. The student lives off campus and is recovering at home under the care of a personal physician. There have been no other reported cases of meningitis.
Viral meningitis is generally less severe than bacterial meningitis and resolves without specific treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Know the signs
To make sure everyone is well aware of the symptoms of meningitis and how to protect themselves, the University is holding an informational session from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, April 12 at the Student Union Theater for students, faculty and staff who may have questions. Although the case reported is viral meningitis, many of the characteristics of the different types of meningitis are similar. The Texas Department of State Health Services has the following information on the symptoms, transmission and prevention of meningitis:
Common symptoms of meningitis might at first seem like the flu—high fever, headache, and stiff neck in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.
Some forms of meningitis are contagious. It can mainly be spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. This can occur through coughing, kissing, and sneezing. Fortunately, meningitis is not as contagious as the common cold or the flu. Meningitis is not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.
There are vaccines available that offer protection against some types of meningitis. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not coming into close contact with people who are sick can also help prevent infection. Using good health practices such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water can also help stop the spread of meningitis.
If anyone has experienced any of these symptoms or notices another person displaying these symptoms, contact your primary care physician, visit the University Student Health Services office or call Rick Gray, director of Student Health Services at (956) 665-2511. For more information, visit the UTPA Student Health Services website.