CSU Student Hospitalized With Meningococcal Disease
4 Of 5 Deaths From Meningitis-Related Illness Occurred In Fort Collins
Last Updated: 897 days ago
Another Colorado State University student has been hospitalized with a meningococcal disease, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment announced Thursday.Kurt Solomon Jr. was feeling sick Tuesday afternoon and by Tuesday night, he was feeling disoriented and confused, so his alert housemates immediately took him to Poudre Valley Hospital -- an act that may have saved his life."His roommates played a really key role in saving his life, so kudos to them," said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, the director of the Larimer County Health Department.Solomon, a 20-year-old junior majoring in sociology, is currently in the intensive care unit where he is getting antibiotics. He is in ICU because he has to be closely observed for 24 hours but is otherwise doing remarkably well, LeBailly said."He is bored and concerned about getting back to classes because of finals next week," LeBailly said. "He is in better than fair condition."Health officials suspect that his strain of meningococcal bacteria will be the same strain of meningococcal bacteria that caused the outbreak in Larimer County, which resulted in four deaths.However, LeBailly said there were no immediate connections between Solomon and the hockey league -- where three players died -- and the veterinary hospital -- where another CSU student who died had been working."We feel so fortunate. This is the first case in this outbreak where we were able to interview the patient," said LeBailly.Solomon did not live on campus.County health officials were asked if the bacteria will ever go away.I cant give you an exact time frame, LeBailly said. LeBailly compared the troubles at CSU to an outbreak at the University of Illinois in the 90s. It spread over 15 months there.I think people believe that when enough of the overall community developed immunity to this, there will be fewer people actually carrying it in their mouth and throats and there will be fewer invasive cases," she said.
Health Officials Ask Students To Be Re-Vaccinated
Solomon wasn't recently immunized in the recent round of mass meningitis vaccinations on campus because he mistakenly thought he was vaccinated in 2008, LeBailly said.Instead, he had been immunized in 2006. The effectiveness of the meningitis vaccine wanes with time and after five years, it's as if one had never been vaccinated, LeBailly said.The health department is recommending anyone under 30 years old to be re-vaccinated if they have not been vaccinated in two to three years. CSU officials said the student health clinic will be stocked with the vaccine so students can be vaccinated before they go on holiday break."Please take it seriously ... Look out for your friends and yourself," said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander. LeBailly said Solomon was fortunate that his case was caught early and that the doctors who saw him immediately treated it as a meningococcal sepis case even though it had not been confirmed.In the mass vaccination clinic held in November, 11,000 people were vaccinated, LeBailly said. Each shot cost $100 and the $1.1 million used to pay for those vaccinations came from federal money designated for H1N1 response which was never used.
5 People Have Died From Meningitis-Related Illness This Year
To date, five people in Colorado have died from meningitis-related illness this year; four of those victims lived in Fort Collins and the fifth person was a Metro State student.The Larimer County Health Department confirmed in October that a Colorado State University student died from the same strain of meningococcal sepsis that killed three hockey players in the Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association.CSU sophomore Christina Adame, 23, died Oct. 20.Brian Wormus, 29, died June 14. Nick Smith, 28, died June 22. Bill Jubert, 52, died Oct. 12 after suffering several strokes. All three men were with the Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association.LeBailly said that for each case of meningococcal infection, there are likely dozens of asymptomatic carriers of the outbreak strain who will never become ill, but can transmit the bacteria to others, most of whom will also never become ill, so it's difficult to make direct connections between all the cases in Larimer County.