Seventh person diagnosed with meningococcal disease, linked to University of Oregon

A seventh person has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease linked to the University of Oregon outbreak, Oregon Public Health officials confirmed today.

The 52-year-old father of a student visited the campus between May 2 and 3, and has since been diagnosed.

Officials said that was proof the illness lingers on campus and students should immediately get vaccinated.

Preventative antibiotic treatment was provided to the man’s close contacts by the university and the state and county public health agencies are working closely with the university to investigate, health officials said.

Meningococcal is a potentially fatal, contagious bacterial blood infection. Lauren Jones, an 18-year-old member of the university’s acrobatics and tumbling team, died of the disease Feb. 17.

Parents and other campus visitors are not at increased risk of exposure to meningococcal B disease by simply visiting the campus, officials said. However, they can help reduce the transmission risk by covering their cough, washing and sanitizing their hands often, and not sharing drinks, utensils, cigarettes or other smoking equipment or personal cosmetics that touch the lips.

Kissing also poses a risk, health officials said.

Students should get vaccinated against the disease right away, and be sure to complete the dose series, which is offered in two- and three-dose courses, according to health officials.

So far, more than 10,000 UO students have received the first dose of the meningitis B vaccine. The university hopes to vaccinate all undergraduate students, meaning 12,000 are still left to be vaccinated. The university held a large scale clinic at the Matt Knight Arena earlier this month. Another large scale clinic is also planned for the fall when students return to campus.

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