Members of the Guilford College Community,
I’m writing to notify you of a community health concern that we received information about this afternoon. A Guilford College student living on campus has been diagnosed with a case of meningitis and is being seen at a prominent medical center. A full diagnosis will not be available until early next week, so we do not yet know if this case of meningitis is bacterial or viral. Therefore, I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to keep us all safe.
We are working with the facilities staff to properly disinfect and clean any common areas that we know have been directly affected. In addition, we are reaching out to faculty and close friends of this student to alert them of the higher risk that they may be facing. We will share additional information with the campus as it becomes available.
The health and safety of our community is my top priority. Please pay careful attention to these preventive measures. With everyone’s participation, we can limit the spread of this and other infections.
Further important information regarding meningitis, its symptoms, and how to care for yourself is provided below. Please review this important information. Links to the CDC website and the Mayo Clinic are included at the bottom. Thank you.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection. There are two main kinds of meningitis:
- Viral meningitis is fairly common. It usually doesn't cause serious illness. In severe cases, it can cause prolonged fever and seizures
- Bacterial meningitis isn't as common, but it's very serious. It needs to be treated right away to prevent brain damage and death.
Viral meningitis is caused by viruses. Bacterial meningitis is caused by bacteria. Meningitis is contagious. The germs that cause it can be passed from one person to another through coughing, sneezing and close contact.
When to see a doctor
Seek medical care right away if you or someone in your family has signs or symptoms of meningitis, such as:
- Severe, unrelenting headache
- Stiff neck, especially when you try to touch your chin to your chest
Viral meningitis may improve without treatment, but bacterial meningitis is serious, can come on very quickly and requires prompt antibiotic treatment to improve the chances of a recovery. Delaying treatment for bacterial meningitis increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death. In addition, bacterial meningitis can prove fatal in a matter of days.
Students with meningitis symptoms should go to Eagle Health Services, located at 1210 New Garden Road. Eagle Health is open from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and can be reached at (336) 294-6190.
Meningitis is spread primarily in saliva, stool and secretions. You can help prevent the possible spread of meningitis by adhering closely to the following practices:
- Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom
- Stay at home and rest if you are ill. This will help prevent others from being infected
- Clean high touch surfaces in your living spaces like keyboards and doorknobs
- Avoid kissing and sharing glasses and utensils