UMass student with meningococcal illness recovering

Published: 10/31/2017 2:34:38 PM

AMHERST — The health of a University of Massachusetts Amherst student who contracted a meningococcal illness has improved, according to university officials.

“He’s still in critical condition but he’s stabilized,” university spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said. Dettloff said the student has been transferred to a Boston-area hospital for further treatment, partly to be closer to his family. There are currently no other known cases of the illness on campus.

The bacteria that caused the illness, Neisseria meningitidis, are contagious and transmitted through close personal contact like coughing, sharing drinks and kissing. The bacteria can cause an infection of brain and spinal cord tissue known as meningitis, or an infection of the blood.

Dettloff said that 98 students have received prophylactic antibiotics after learning about the student’s illness. University Health Services worked with local and state officials to reach out to those close to the student, Dettloff said, tracking down people who may have had contact with him.

“We’re just really grateful that we don’t have another case,” Dettloff said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

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