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Cuesta College student dies of suspected bacterial meningitis

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 14, 2019

A Cuesta College student living in San Luis Obispo has died of what’s believed to be bacterial meningitis, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported on Thursday.

Health officials say laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis is underway.

In the meantime, public health officials say they are working with local hospitals, the college and people who had close contact with the student to determine if there’s anyone else who could be infected. Those people will reportedly receive preventive antibiotics.

A message sent to Cal Poly students and employees says the student had ties to the Cal Poly community, as well.

Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can be spread through kissing, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, or other prolonged, very close contact. It is not readily transmitted through casual contact or through the air.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis usually include a sudden fever, headache, and stiff neck. It can start with symptoms similar to the flu and may also include nausea, vomiting, rash, confusion, and increased sensitivity to light.

Anyone with symptoms of bacterial meningitis should seek medical care immediately. It can be treated with antibiotics.

There are also two types of vaccines available to protect against the illness.