3rd UO Student Being Tested for Bacterial Infection

A University of Oregon student who lived in the same on-campus dorm as a student diagnosed with meningococcemia has shown early symptoms of the potentially deadly bacterial blood infection, a Lane County Public Health official said today.

Testing of the student’s blood is underway, and the diagnosis has not yet been confirmed, said Jason Davis, spokesman for the health department.

If confirmed, it would be the third case of a UO student diagnosed with meningococcemia since mid-January, and the second involving a student living on-campus.

County public health officials learned of the second confirmed case on Tuesday involving a student living in Earl Hall.

UO Health Center employees went to the dorm Tuesday to provide an antibiotic to its residents that stops the spread of the bacteria in the body.

The student, whose gender wasn’t immediately known, notified employees of not feeling well and was taken to a local hospital to have blood drawn Tuesday evening. The student has been released from the hospital.

Preliminary test results should be available Thursday, Davis said. If positive for meningococcemia, the blood will be sent to a state lab for confirmation testing.

The student had long-term exposure to the student diagnosed with meningococcemia, Davis said, but those details weren’t immediately available.

An infected person needs to be in close contact with another person for at least four hours over a seven-day period for the bacteria to spread.

That’s good news for public health officials as meningococcemia spreads more slowly than measles and other diseases.

Davis said public health officials are still trying to determine if all three cases are linked.

Testing is underway on the first two students diagnosed with meningococcemia to see if they have the same strain of the bacteria, one way that officials can prove the cases are tied together.

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