SBCC student falls victim to spinal meningitis infection

Kyle Rokes, Joel Linde and Anna Hansson

A City College student was infected with spinal meningitis two weeks ago, the international students office confirmed today.

The student awoke from a coma yesterday, according to a friend of the patient.

Carola Smith, the office’s director, also said that the county’s public health department interviewed approximately 20 students who had contact with the patient. They all received antibiotics as a preventative measure.

The incubation period for meningitis is ten days. So far, there have been no other reported cases, Smith said.

The patient was informed that certain organs may have to be surgically removed.

Meningitis often ravages bodily tissue outside the nervous system, including the spleen, rendering those organs useless or toxic. It can spread to the spine and brain and may prove fatal if left untreated.

The question of how the student contracted the illness remains unanswered.

Meningitis, although rare, can be easy to catch because it’s carried in saliva. Kissing, sharing eating utensils, and playing beer pong are all potentially contaminating activities.

Symptoms include headaches, stiff neck, nausea, sleepiness, vomiting or a lack of appetite, according to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.

Meningitis can also be contracted from the ocean, said Dr. Vanessa Woods, a professor in the psychology department.

“That’s what you get when you dump a bunch of stuff in the ocean,” she said, referring to untreated sewage pumped offshore.

Health Services already provides general information about the disease, including symptoms, treatment, and where to get vaccinations. No official college-wide notice about this case of meningitis was distributed.

A call to Joan Galvan, City College public information officer, was not returned to The Channels.

Anna Hansson and Joel Linde contributed to this report