St. Mary's College student hospitalized with case of meningitis

MORAGA, Calif. (KTVU) -- Contra Costa County health officials on Tuesday announced that an unidentified student at St. Mary's College in Moraga is recovering from a case of meningitis.

Lab tests Tuesday were inconclusive as far as determining what type of meningitis the student has, but health officials were confident Tuesday that the disease would not spread.

"We are not expecting an outbreak. We had a simple isolated student get ill. We identified other people who likely could have gotten ill and treated them with antibiotics," said Dr. Nishant Shah of the Contra Costa County Public Health Department.

Public health workers say they treated 60 other student who came in contact with the patient with antibiotics as a precaution. The college also sanitized bathrooms and classrooms the patient used.

The St. Mary's student was rushed to the hospital monday Morning with symptoms of the disease including a headache and a stiff neck.

Word went out to the St. Mary's students and faculty about the incident. Meningitis can cause brain damage and hearing loss. It is fatal in about five percent of the cases.

It is often spread through a cough or sneeze.

St. Mary's says it will continue to work closely with the health department.

"We are going to be vigilant about any response we need to take. And we want to keep the campus community aware they can come in for antibiotics," said Evette Castillo Clark, Dean of Students at St. Mary"s College

But health officials say St. Mary's can return to normal.

"I want to thank our health and wellness center staff specifically for acting extremely swiftly" to identify the potentially affected individuals and get the message out about the illness, Clark said.