Meningitis B reported at UWL: symptoms and prevention


Meningitis side effects in adults. Photo retrieved from Medical News Today.

Julia Balli, Assistant Editor

Meningitis B was recently reported at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and was addressed in a statement emailed to students from the Student Health Center on Nov. 14: 

A UWL student was recently diagnosed with Meningitis B, received treatment at a medical center, and has recovered. This was an isolated incident. Close contacts of the student have already been identified and treated with antibiotics and vaccination as needed. The La Crosse County Health Department has found no additional cases of suspected Meningitis B. 

Meningococcal disease is caused by the Neisseria meningitides bacteria and can cause a blood infection or meningitis (swelling of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord). These illnesses are severe and can be deadly. College students are at increased risk for meningitis given close living quarters.  Outbreaks of Meningitis B have been seen at other universities. 

In an article written by The Racquet Press on Nov. 8, Larry Ringgenberg informed the Student Association of the diagnosis. “Larry Ringgenberg [the UWL Director of University Centers] informed the Student Association of UWL’s first diagnosis of meningitis. The student is in recovery in a hospital in Madison, and the disease is not contagious at this time.”  

Early meningitis symptoms may mimic the flu (influenza). According to Mayo Clinic some possible signs and symptoms are sudden high fever, stiff neck, severe headache that seems different than normal, headache with nausea or vomiting, confusion or difficulty concentrating, seizures, sleepiness or difficulty waking, sensitivity to light, no appetite or thirst, skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis). 

“Common bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis can spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils, a toothbrush or a cigarette,” according to Mayo Clinic. To prevent meningitis, wash your hands, avoid sharing drinks/eating utensils, and cover your mouth. 

Vaccines to prevent meningitis are also available at the Student Health Center, the cost will be charged to your student account. You may receive a receipt to submit to your insurance company, but some insurances may not reimburse your charge.  

Cost at the UWL Student Health Center:  

  • Trumenba $ 120 per dose, series of 3  
  • Bexsero $ 155 per dose, series of 2 

Vaccines can also be received at your local clinic. 

If you have any questions concerning which vaccines you need or the costs, or to schedule an appointment visit or call the Student Health Center (608) 785-8558.