Feb

16

UPenn Has Meningitis?

Written by


As Spec has noted
, Barnard students have received an email advisory warning about a meningicoccal meningitis outbreak at UPenn in the past few days. “If you attended an event on the University of Pennsylvania campus between February 2, 2009 and February 13, 2009,” wrote Barnard Health Services Director Brenda Slade, “please contact Barnard Health Services for a medical consultation.”

Barnard students were not the first to get a warning, though: the Ivy League Fencing Championships were held at Columbia two weekends ago, and after several Penn participants were diagnosed with meningitis, the Athletics Department advised fencers earlier this morning to get vaccinated, even setting up special clinic times for the fencers this evening, although the risk of infection “is very low.”  No email has been sent out to the larger Columbia community. UPDATE (5:25 PM): Columbia students have received an email from Columbia Health Services Associate Medical Director Marcy Ferdschneider.

For the hypochondriacs, no need to worry: “the risk of infection with meningococcal meningitis is limited to those who have been in direct contact with infected individuals through household or intimate contact,” so unless you’ve been talking to or hanging out with Penn students in the last two weeks (and who’d want to?), you’re fine. All three emails after the jump.


Dear Members of the Barnard Community:

Barnard College’s Health Services wanted to make you aware of the recent announcement regarding meningococcal meningitis infection at the University of Pennsylvania. We first wish to stress that the risk to Barnard students is minimal and limited to a small number of individuals who had direct contact with University of Pennsylvania students between 2/2 and 2/13/2009. These individuals from Barnard have already been contacted and notified and actions are being taken to ensure their continued good health.

The risk of infection with meningococcal meningitis is limited to those who have been in direct contact with infected individuals through household or intimate contact. If you attended an event on the University of Pennsylvania campus between February 2, 2009 and February 13, 2009, please contact Barnard Health Services for a medical consultation.

While the risk of infection is low we are always concerned about our students’ health and well-being. If you are unsure if you are at risk, health care providers are available for consultation at Barnard Health Services. Barnard students can contact Health Services at 212 854-2091 or by going to the Walk-In service at Lower Level Brooks Hall between 9am and 4:30pm.

For more information about the University of Pennsylvania’s announcement on meningitis, please visit their Web site – http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/shs

Sincerely,

Brenda Slade, NP, MA

Director

Barnard College Student Health Service


Dear Members of the Columbia Community:

Columbia University’s Health Services wanted to make you aware of the recent announcement regarding meningococcal meningitis infection at the University of Pennsylvania. We want to stress that the risk to Columbia students is minimal and limited to a small number of individuals who had direct contact with University of Pennsylvania students between Feb. 2 and Feb. 13, 2009. Known individuals from Columbia who might have been exposed have already been contacted and notified, and actions are being taken to ensure their continued good health. 

The risk of infection with meningococcal meningitis is limited to those who have been in direct contact with infected individuals through household or intimate contact. If you were on the University of Pennsylvania campus between Feb. 2 and Feb. 13, and you attended a social event, such as a party in a residence hall, or a fraternity or sorority event, or participated as an athlete in an athletic event, contact Health Services for a medical consultation. Also note that subsequent contact with someone who may have been in the presence of an infected person is not a risk factor. 

Although the risk of infection is low, we are always concerned about our students’ health and well-being. If you are unsure if you are at risk, health care providers are available for consultation at Health Services. While many of you may have already received a meningitis vaccine, it is unfortunately not effective against this strain of the bacterium. If you would like to speak with Health Services medical staff, please call 212.854.7426.

For more information about the University of Pennsylvania’s announcement on meningitis, please visit their Web site [link to http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/shs/].

Sincerely,

Marcy Ferdschneider, D.O.

Associate Medical Director, Primary Care Medical Services

Health Services at Columbia


To the members of the Columbia University Fencing team:

There were participants in last week’s Ivy League Fencing tournament that have been diagnosed with a serious illness, meningococcal meningitis.   Those who are at the highest risk of contracting this contagious illness are close contacts of those infected; this typically includes household contacts and intimate contacts.  The risk to any of the competitors at last Sunday’s event is low; however, after consultation with the New York City Department of Health, we have decided to offer a medication to all participants that will

prevent the disease.  We recommend that anyone who participated in the tournament take the precaution of being medicated.  Since meningitis is spread by respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing), there needs to be close contact in order to catch it.  Anyone who did not participate or was not in close contact with the other competitors

does not need to be medicated as there is no risk of contracting the illness. While many of you may have already received the Meningitis vaccine, it is unfortunately not protective against this particular strain of the bacteria, and we would still recommend that you receive the antibiotic to protect yourselves.

We have arranged to provide you all with one dose of an antibiotic, which is the recommended prophylaxis against meningococcal meningitis, at Primary Care Medical Services in John Jay Hall or at the Barnard Health Services for those of you who are Barnard students.

At Columbia, we have set up a special clinic for you tonight between the hours of 4-7pm in the Broadway Practice Group on the 4th floor of John Jay, so you can receive the medication.  If you are unsure if you are at risk, please come by during the designated hours to speak with a health care provider.  If you are unable to make it to Primary Care

during those hours, please let your coach know and we will make other arrangements for you to be seen today.  This is a time sensitive issue, so it is imperative that we see all those who participated in last Sunday’s event today.

For those of you who are Barnard students please go to the Barnard Health Service Urgent Care between 10am and 5pm today.  If you are unable to make it to the Health Service during those hours, please let your coach know and alternative arrangements will be made.

Again, I want to reiterate that the risk to anyone involved in the Ivy League Fencing tournament is very low but we are taking every precaution to ensure your health and safety.  I would also like to assure you that all of the other schools that participated have been notified.

Sincerely,

Marcy Ferdschneider, D.O.

Associate Medical Director, Primary Care Medical Services

Brenda Slade, N.P.

Director, Barnard Health Services

 

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18 Comments

  1. what strain  

    of this disease only affects females?

    womeningitis!

  2. Anonymous  

    Oh boy. My visiting Valentine was a Penn student. Thank goodness he's been inoculated.

  3. Oh man  

    One of my friends at Penn is in quarantine. Her best friend is in ICU because of this. :(

    Hope it doesn't come here. Yikes!

  4. Anonymous  

    Am I the only person who hasn't received this email? Glad I happened to go on bwog

  5. seems to be  

    and ivy-league thang

  6. Adam Nobler  

    I didn't get one and meningitis is right after carbon monoxide on my list of fears!

  7. Hypochondriac  

    Fuck my life.

  8. Was #2  

    Thanks all, for responding to my comment. I'm not worried, but now I know it's not entirely a non-issue. I'll head over to health services tomorrow.

  9. Anonymous  

    I've a headache and nausea.

    Am I infected?

    Please, Dr. Bwog, answer me!

  10. I hate  

    snl cowbell references.

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