Meningococcal case confirmed

Friday, October 27, 2017

An undergraduate student who attends Oregon State University in Corvallis is being treated for meningococcal disease. Testing is underway to find out the strain of meningococcal disease. Test results are expected early next week.

Three students were infected with the B strain of meningococcal disease at Oregon State within the past year. One case was reported in February. Two other cases were reported in November 2016.

The Benton County Health Department is working with OSU officials, local medical providers and state public health officials to find anyone who may have been in close contact with the ill student. Officials want to make sure that close contacts get antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. The disease does not easily spread from one person to another, so health officials expect that few people will need antibiotics at this time.

“In cases such like this, we find everyone who was in close contact with an infected person. If necessary, we ask them to get treated to prevent further spread,” said Bill Emminger, Benton County Health Department. “We will give close contacts antibiotics to prevent illness even if they have been vaccinated before. For now, we believe that the people who may have been exposed have been contacted and given treatment.”

Signs that someone might have meningococcal disease may include high fever, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea, rash, and vomiting. Meningococcal disease may lead to meningitis, an infection of the fluids that line the brain and spinal cord. A blood infection usually causes fever and a rash. Individuals who are at highest risk for getting the disease are those who have spent at least four hours in close, face-to-face time with a person infected with meningococcal disease.

Anyone who has signs of meningococcal disease should immediately visit their health care provider, a nearby urgent care clinic or an emergency room. OSU students who have these signs should visit OSU Student Health Services located in the Plageman Building, 108 S.W. Memorial Place.

Meningococcal disease does not spread easily. It is spread through direct contact with fluids from the nose or throat of an infected person. This can happen when a sick person coughs or sneezes; shares eating and drinking utensils or smoking devices; or has intimate contact.

Learn more about meningococcal disease by calling the OSU Student Health Services Nurse Advice line at 541-737-2724 or Benton County Health Department communicable disease nurses at 541-766-6835 or by visiting these websites:


More information will be provided as available.