Meningitis Scare: NAU student hospitalized - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Meningitis Scare: NAU student hospitalized

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PHOENIX -

One Northern Arizona University student was hospitalized this week with meningitis and now eight others are being treated with antibiotics.

A lot of people are talking about this disease because those nine people were infected at NAU and a San Diego man recently died because of the disease.

We spoke to an epidemic expert about signs and symptoms you should look for.

"Meningitis can be very concerning because it can be fatal in some cases.  It's a serious disease and it needs to be taken seriously," said Jessica Rigler of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.  Symptoms typically develop within three to seven days of exposure.

Rigler is the Chief of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at ADHS and she says in some cases, meningitis can cause death within 12 to 24 hours.

"Signs and symptoms of meningitis could include high fevers, headaches, body aches, stiff necks -- we see often sometimes body rashes."

Last year, there were six cases of meningitis in Arizona.  That's down from 12 in 2011.  This year, there have been three reported cases in Arizona so far.  Infants and people living in close quarters, like college students are at high risk.

"It's not typically spread by touching the same surfaces, but sharing things like drinks or food or other types of close contact where you're seeing that saliva interchange.. like you would be if you were sharing a water bottle or something," said Rigler.

For more information on the disease, check out the links below:

Meningitis - Arizona 2-1-1 Resource Database
Find low-cost health clinics at www.mycommunitypt.com/arizona

CDC - Meningitis
www.cdc.gov/meningitis

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