Public Health News
Public Health News

Public Health and Cal Poly Join to Respond to Case of Meningococcal Disease

Author: Public Health Department
Date: Friday, January 20, 2017 3:33 PM

One student who attends Cal Poly has been diagnosed with presumed meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that causes bloodstream infections and meningitis.


One student who attends California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) has been diagnosed with presumed meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that causes bloodstream infections and meningitis. The affected student is receiving medical care and treatment.

The university and local Public Health officials are investigating the case, providing preventive antibiotics to contacts when indicated, and educating the university community about meningococcal disease.

Close contacts of meningococcal cases are recommended to receive preventive antibiotics. Close contacts include persons who were exposed to the ill person’s respiratory and throat secretions through living in close quarters, kissing, or other prolonged close contact. The Public Health Department is identifying persons who had close contact with the ill student and recommending antibiotics to protect them from also becoming ill.

Meningococcal disease signs and symptoms, which are sometimes mistaken for those of flu, can include:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Rash
  • Body aches/joint pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness

Anyone with signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek medical care immediately. Early treatment of meningococcal disease is critical as the infection can quickly become life-threatening.

College-aged persons living in close quarters are at increased risk of meningococcal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine for all adolescents at ages 11-12 and 16 years. First-year students living in residence halls are recommended to receive at least one dose of vaccine prior to college entry. If only one dose of vaccine was given before age 16 years, an additional dose should be given before college enrollment. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/meningococcal

Covering coughs, keeping hands clean, and being up to date with recommended vaccines, especially flu vaccine this time of year, are actions everyone can take to stay healthy and protect themselves from illness. Persons with questions or concerns about meningococcal disease are urged to contact the Public Health Department, Cal Poly Student Health, or their primary healthcare provider.