JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 16, 2013) – A Dining Services employee at East Tennessee State University has been hospitalized with possible meningitis. The employee was not involved in any food preparation or service. The individual is not an ETSU student.
ETSU anticipates receiving official confirmation of the diagnosis from public health officials today. The university became aware of the possibility of meningitis on Wednesday and preventive protocols were implemented.
Based on the information that has been received from the Washington County Health Department, there has been no risk to the safety of food operations at ETSU, and no individual is believed to be at increased risk for exposure. Classes were not in session when the employee was last on campus on Saturday, Jan. 11.
ETSU has a protocol for suspected cases of meningitis, and all protocols were followed. Beginning in fall 2013, all incoming students under the age of 22 who reside in on-campus student housing are required by state law to provide proof of immunization against meningococcal disease within the past five years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meningococcal disease is contagious and can be spread person-to-person through the air by respiratory droplets, such as those produced by coughing and sneezing, and can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, such as by oral contact with shared items, like cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through kissing. Only people who have been in close, direct contact should be considered for preventive treatment.
Common symptoms of meningitis include fever, severe and persistent headache, chills, body aches, nausea, and neck stiffness. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should contact his or her health care provider. ETSU Student Health Services is open 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
More information about meningitis is available at www.cdc.gov.