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Meningococcal disease is a serious, potentially fatal infection that most often causes severe swelling of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or a serious blood infection (meningococcemia).
Meningococcal meningitis is when the brain and spinal cord swelling is caused by the Neisseria menigitidis bacteria.
Of these bacteria, Type B causes approximately 38 percent of the cases in Oregon and is the cause of the present outbreak at OSU.
The best defense is getting vaccinated.
Early symptoms may be difficult to distinguish from the flu or an upper respiratory infection, or symptoms may appear suddenly and progress rapidly.
If symptoms occur, contact your health care provider as soon as possible or go to the emergency room for sudden severe symptoms.
The bacteria spread through the exchange of respiratory secretions during close, direct contact with an infected person.
Although "close contact" has not been clearly defined, it generally refers to individuals who have had prolonged (greater than 8 hours) contact while in close proximity (less than 3 feet) to the patient or who have been directly exposed to the patient's oral secretions during the seven days before the onset of the patient's symptoms and until 24 hours after initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy.
Other factors that increase risk:
Call Student Health at 541-737-2724 with any questions.