UPDATED: Classes Resume After Meningitis Scare at Berkeley College in White Plains

A student was sent to the hospital with a possible case of meningitis on Friday


The Westchester County Department of Health has deemed the campus in White Plains as safe, allowing student to attend class Monday after a meningitis scare over the weekend.

"There is no cause for concern in the great college community or beyond," said Caren Halbfinger, a spokesperson for the Westchester County Department of Health.

The college announced Friday that one of their students at the 99 Church St. campus was stuck with a potential case of bacterial meningitis, which the Westchester County Department of Health is currently investigating.

“The individuals who were in close contact with the ill student have received preventive medical treatment,” said Berkeley College President Dr. Dario Cortes, in a statement. “Our prayers are with the student being treated and the student’s family.”

According to the New York State Department of Health, meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection of the blood stream or lining of the brain and spinal cord.  There is an increase risk for contracting the condition in college dormitories. About 2,500 people are infected with meningitis each year, while about 300 die. Symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental status. There are vaccines that are meant to prevent meningitis, which is treated with antibiotics. Click here for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website on meningitis. 

“This type of infection is not spread through casual contact such as attending classes together or passing in the hall,” said Cortes. “Direct sharing of oral secretions from an infected person is needed to transmit the disease. Kissing, or the sharing of drinks, cigarettes or eating utensils with an infected person are examples of activities that could lead to the spread of bacterial meningitis.”

Halbfinger details on the student and the results of tests to determine whether the case is meningitis or not will not be release for privacy reasons.

The college is asking anyone with questions to contact Cynthia Rubino at (914) 694-1122 x 3101 or the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000.

For additional information visit the National Meningitis Association's website at nmaus.org

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NMAtweets April 09, 2012 at 06:18 PM
As a parent who lost her 20 year old son to bacterial meningitis, the take-away message should be that this disease is potentially vaccine-preventable. The CDC recommends routine vaccination for all 11-12 year olds, with a booster dose 5 years later. All students entering college should have been vaccinated within the past 5 years. Meningitis can present with many symptoms -- headache, high fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, a purplish rash, light sensitivity -- so if any symptom comes on unusually severe, you should seek medical attention. There is more information at the National Meningitis Association Web site. The live you save may be your own.
Dina Sciortino April 09, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Hello, thank you for taking the time to share your story and information. I will add a link to the CDC's website and the National Meningitis Association. in our story


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