(FOX 11/CNS) Word that a UC Riverside employee was undergoing treatment for bacterial meningitis prompted campus officials Tuesday to alert students and staff to take precautions if they believe they were exposed.
"Bacterial meningitis is not as contagious as the cold or the flu, but it is still wise to take precautions," said UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox.
According to campus spokeswoman Kris Lovekin, the university was informed over the weekend that a worker, whose identity was not disclosed, 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.