A UC Riverside employee undergoing treatment for meningitis is not suffering from the worst strain of the disease, a campus official said today.
"After reviewing laboratory test results and the clinical information on the employee, the County of Riverside Department of Public Health has determined that the employee does not have the most serious form of bacterial meningitis," said campus spokeswoman Kris Lovekin.
UCR officials on Tuesday issued a campus-wide alert informing students and staff to take precautions if they believed they had been exposed to the employee, whose name was not released.
"Bacterial meningitis is not as contagious as the cold or the flu, but it is still wise to take precautions," UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox said.
According to Lovekin, the university was informed over the weekend that a worker had been diagnosed with the disease.
Lovekin said officials immediately began contacting individuals who may have had contact with the patient and ordered that areas where the person works be sanitized. She said faculty, staff and students were advised to be aware of meningitis symptoms, which include headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, rashes, nausea and disorientation.
According to Lovekin, anyone experiencing complications they believe might be connected to meningitis should immediately see their personal physician or visit the UCR Health Center.
Dr. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR School of Medicine, said infections are not generally spread through casual contact, but rather through the sharing of saliva.
To prevent transmission of the disease, officials urged frequent hand- washing, covering one's nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing, staying home when feeling ill, steering clear of crowded places where cigarette smoke is prevalent and avoiding the sharing of utensils. --City News Service