Information About Meningococcal Meningitis Exposure

Palomar College - 10/23/14

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 • Updated at 12:58 PM PDT

A new case of a college student hospitalized with meningococcal bacteria was reported Thursday in San Diego County. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports the patient is a student at Palomar College. The county did not disclose which hospital was treating the individual.

The student has attended only one class in the past three weeks so there are no close contacts at the college, county officials said. "The risk to individuals who have not had close contact with the infected individual is very low," Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., said in a county news report. HHSA has already notified those people who they believe should take antibiotics to prevent any possible infection.

This case is not believed to be connected to the recent meningococcal case that led to the death of San Diego State University freshman Sara Stelzer. Stelzer was removed from life support over the weekend after contracting the rare Type B meningococcal meningitis. Nearly 1,000 SDSU students were evaluated for risk of exposure. Some were given preventative antibiotics according to health officials.

There have been seven cases of meningococcal disease in San Diego County this year. Last year, there were 16 cases reported.

Symptoms of infection by meningococcal bacteria may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck, and a rash that does not blanch under pressure, officials said. The germs are easily spread by those in close contact through sharing drinks or water bottles, cigarettes or through more intimate activity like kissing. Parents should consult their primary care physician for information on a vaccine that is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease. It's routinely recommended for children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age.

Find out more information about vaccine-preventable diseases.


The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) has not identified any USD students who may have been exposed to the Palomar College student and needing prophylactic antibiotics.

Earlier Exposure - SDSU - 10/16/2014

A San Diego State University (SDSU) student became ill on October 12, 2014 with presumed meningococcal meningitis. The San Diego County health authorities are concerned about those who may have had exposure to the student who is a member of Kappa Delta at SDSU and are reaching out to known close contacts. There is a potential, although, low risk to those who attended either an Alpha Epsilon Pi party on October 8, 2014 or a Delta Sigma Phi party on October 9, 2014 (both at SDSU).

The University of San Diego Greek Community did not have an official presence at these events, however, if you attended either of these events, the USD Student Health Center, in conjunction with the County of San Diego Health & Human Services, recommends treatment at the Student Health Center, Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. We recommend calling 619-260-4595 for an appointment.