UO student ill, 800 students, staff alerted

The illness called meningococcemia can lead to meningitis

The campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene (KOIN 6 News, file)
The campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene (KOIN 6 News, file)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Public health officials say about 800 University of Oregon students and staff have been notified that a student has been diagnosed with a contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial blood infection.

Lane County health officials in Eugene say the illness called meningococcemia can lead to meningitis. The affected student was hospitalized.

The Register-Guard reports that those contacted are believed to have been in contact with the sick student in classes and extracurricular activities since the school term started Jan. 5. They’ve been advised to seek treatment if they develop symptoms.

Health officials said late Friday that the student left Eugene this week to return home after her symptoms worsened. She was not identified and her condition is not known. She lived off campus.

The bacteria reportedly can be transmitted through the air, although the disease is not considered to be as contagious as the common cold or the flu. The disease is treatable with a preventative antibiotic, which prevents the bacteria from spreading.

Symptoms often resemble flu and include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

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