Oct. 29, 2011
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
I write to update you on how the College is continuing to respond after one of our first-year students was diagnosed with a form of meningococcal disease yesterday. We continue to support our student, who is receiving expert hospital care. The student's mother is now in Lancaster. I would like to thank everyone who has conveyed their care and concern for our student; I know that your warm good wishes are greatly appreciated by the patient's family.
I am glad to report that no further students have demonstrated symptoms that lead us to suspect a diagnosis of meningitis. In accordance with advice from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, College Physician Dr. Amy Myers has provided preventive antibiotic treatment to those who may have had close contact with the patient. She and Senior Associate Dean of the College Steve O'Day have met with residents of New College House and other students to respond to any questions they may have about the situation.
Dr. Myers remains on call throughout the weekend, and we encourage any student who experiences symptoms such as high fever, an unrelenting headache, and a stiff neck to seek medical attention immediately. If Appel Health Services is closed when you need to visit, please contact the Office of Public Safety at x3939 to reach Dr. Myers.
The College continues to monitor this situation very carefully and will be in touch with any further information as needed. In the meantime, you can find answers to frequently asked questions about meningococcal disease and a summary of the College's response at: http://www.fandm.edu/healthservices/meningococcal-disease.
Dean of the College
Oct. 28, 2011
Dear Students, Faculty and Professional Staff:
I write to share the difficult news that a first-year student living in New College House has been diagnosed with an infection presumed to be neisseria meningitides, more commonly known as bacterial meningitis. The patient is currently receiving excellent medical care at a local hospital. We are contacting those who may have had close contact with the student and are providing preventive antibiotic treatment to students as appropriate. We have ensured access to our campus physician, Dr. Amy Myers, for the entire weekend. In addition, Senior Associate Dean of the College Steve O’Day and Dr. Myers are meeting with residents of New College House, and we have informed all College House Dons. We have also notified the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and we are following their advice for such situations.
N. meningitides bacteria are normally spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (i.e., coughing, kissing or the sharing of eating utensils). They are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where an infected person has been. People in the same household, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's saliva (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend), would be considered at increased risk of acquiring the infection. These bacteria do not live long outside the human body, so that the sickness is not spread by touching doorknobs, telephones or other surfaces that have been contaminated with the bacteria. According to the Department of Health, even in close household contacts, the transmission rate is only 3-4%.
The classic symptoms associated with meningitis are high fever; severe, unrelenting headache; and stiff neck. Other potential symptoms include nausea, vomiting and confusion.
Anyone experiencing the above symptoms of fever, headache and neck pain should seek medical attention immediately. Appel Health Services will be open this evening until 8:00 p.m. and will be open Saturday at 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Appel will resume its normal weekday hours of Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. next week. Throughout the weekend, Dr. Myers will be on call. If Health Services is closed when you need to visit, please contact the Office of Public Safety at x3939 to reach Dr. Myers.
As we continue to learn more about our student’s condition, we will share additional updates with you as appropriate. Please keep the patient and the patient’s family in your thoughts at this very challenging time.
Dean of the College