Friday, February 29, 2008

UI Sig Ep in Critical Condition with Meningitis

Meningitis Latest
Reported by: Amanda Evans/ WCIA 3 News

CHAMPAIGN- We know that one victim was vaccinated... Before she came down with what can be a deadly disease. She is now recovering.

The other victim is in critical condition. The university is looking into that. But we do know tonight.. that the victims are both members of the Greek community.

Doctors were at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house today investigating this latest case. That victim is a recent UI graduate who is a fraternity member there. The people we talked to weren't sure if the victim was vaccinated.

We do know that the first victim was. An Alpha Phi sorority sister says she was vaccinated before coming down with meningitis.

And that's what has doctors concerned because the vaccination can't protect against all types of meningitis. Robert D. Palinkas, MD, McKinley Health Director, " We are not actually pushing the vaccine as an immediate response right now because we are not sure that it would have any type of protective effect and certainly it's effect takes about a month to prevent."

What doctors are doing finding the people who have been in contact with those infected and getting them on an anti-biotic. And the university has plastered campus with flyers warning students to protect themselves.

This couldn't happen at a worse time for the university. . It's hard to keep germs from spreading with that many students crammed on campus for "unofficial saint Patrick's" starting Friday, not to mention students sharing drinks and kissing. Doctors begging students to play it safe this weekend because even though they've been vaccinated it may not do any good

Earlier Post
A Recent University of Illinois graduate is fighting for life just one day after being hospitalized with meningitis. It's the second case to hit campus in just one week.

Now school officials want to protect other students from spreading this potentially fatal disease.

The challenge now is to find out if the two cases are related and make sure the disease doesn't spread any further.

That's why campus officials are hitting the streets posting flyers and posters to get the word out: Don't share drinks. Don't share toothbrushes, lipstick or anything else that has been near someone else's mouth.

They won't to keep students protected because right now, doctors have not ruled out the two cases could be related.

"Obviously in everybody's mind that would be a reasonable concern and they're related in the sense that they have occurred in our campus community and I think that's a relationship we can not ignore," said Dr. Robert Palinkas.

He says we may never know for sure if the cases are connected. So your best way to stay safe is to play it safe. If you have a high fever, headache and stiff neck, you should see a doctor immediately.