UMass student diagnosed with contagious illness; university taking precautions

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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A UMass student has been diagnosed with a contagious illness.

University health officials have provided antibiotics to nearly 40 students, who were in close contact with that sick student.

That student is being treated at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after being diagnosed with a serious illness caused by a bacteria that could lead to meningitis.

Meningitis affects the tissues that cover the brain and the spinal cord. And if left untreated, it could kill you.

University Health officials diagnosed the student Tuesday morning. And notified students and faculty of their risk Wednesday night and what precautions they need to take.

Jeffrey Wang, a UMASS student, told 22News, “Stick to your own drinks, food. Probably stay clear of just hugging random people. Stay safe.”

The bacteria can be contagious. It spreads through close contact, coughing, sharing drinks and kissing.

And if you feel sick, see a health official.

Executive Director of Health Services at UMass Dr. George Corey told 22News,Many college-age people, 20% of them in the fall, as nearly as 40% of them in the winter, carry this without any ill effects, so it’s in all of us.”

As a precaution, nearly 40 students, who were in close contact with the sick student were given antibiotics. Also, environmental health service cleaned the contagious student’s room.

They’re suggesting students avoid kissing or sharing drinks or food.

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