Over the weekend, the Bangor Daily News published an article regarded cases of viral meningitis being reported at the University of Maine campus. This came to a shock to a few faculty members as nobody had been notified about the outbreak until early Saturday morning, when Robert Dana, vice president of student life at UMaine, sent an email out to the campus community.
“Two unrelated cases of viral meningitis were reported to Cutler Health Center officials this week,” Dana said in an email. “Viral meningitis is the most common form of meningitis and less severe than bacterial meningitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Most cases of viral meningitis have no specific treatment options. The bacteria that causes meningitis can be spread easily through living in close quarters (such as a residence hall), or through bodily contact. Common symptoms of viral meningitis include headaches, sudden fevers and having a stiff neck. Most people that have this form of meningitis recover on their own within ten days.
The email sent out by Dana was reported by Richard Young, associate executive director of auxiliary services/university liaison of health services and student health insurance. Young added some preventative measures that students and faculty can take to prevent the spread of the bacteria: wash your hands often with soap and water; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve instead of hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces; and stay home when you are sick.
Dana’s email also mentioned that the students that currently have viral meningitis are not attending class sessions or labs until their symptoms pass.
If someone is experiencing these symptoms, their are health centers on campus and around the area that accept walk-ins, including Cutler Health Center and Eastern Maine Medical Center Walk-In Care.