Oregon’s largest university has a second student with a rare and potentially deadly disease. But so far, Oregon State University is not considering the two cases an “outbreak.”
A first case of meningococcal disease at OSU was publicized earlier this week. The Corvallis-based university confirmed a second case Thursday.
Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting and rashes. It can be deadly, but antibiotics are often effective.
University Vice President Steve Clark said there is no clear link between the two cases.
“We know of no relationship between the two individuals, and that’s why we can’t suggest that this is a form of an outbreak, for that reason, at this point,” Clark said. “We’re very concerned, but we’re also addressing this as effectively as possible.”
Thursday afternoon, it wasn’t clear if the two cases had the same strain of meningococcal. The first student has “strain B,” which is not always included in meningococcal vaccines.
The second ill student was hospitalized Wednesday and is reported in good condition. That student’s strain of meningococcal had not been released as of Thursday afternoon.
The second student lives in an OSU residence hall. Officials are contacting roommates and other people who may have had the kind of close, sustained contact necessary to contract the disease.
The first student lives off-campus, and university officials said they’ve taken similar steps of letting friends and family members know.
People at risk of contracting meningococcal disease from the two students with confirmed diagnoses are being given preventative antibiotics.