EUGENE (AP) — A fifth student has developed the same contagious bacterial infection that killed one student and sickened three others this year, the University of Oregon said Thursday night.
University spokeswoman Jen McCulley said the latest case involves a 19-year-old male sophomore who is hospitalized and “doing very well,” the Register-Guard newspaper reported.
The school recently completed a four-day mass vaccination clinic aimed at protecting students from the infection. Citing privacy laws, the university wouldn’t say whether the latest student received a dose of the vaccine.
The 19-year-old lived in an off-campus student apartment complex with three roommates. He belongs to a fraternity. The roommates will receive antibiotics.
Public health officials are trying to reach others who may have had close contact.
This is the first confirmed case of the potentially fatal blood infection, meningococcemia, since 18-year-old Lauren Jones died of the disease Feb. 17. She was a member of the school’s acrobatics and tumbling team
The other three students sickened since mid-January have recovered.
Jones’ death prompted a public health recommendation that the university vaccinate nearly 22,000 people. That would include all undergraduates as well as faculty and graduate students who are at high risk because they live on campus or have compromised immune systems.
So far, more than one-third, or 8,500, of the university’s students have received the vaccine.
School officials say they’re optimistic that a high percentage of students most at risk of contracting the disease — freshmen and sophomores, members of fraternities and sororities, and students living in dorms — have gotten the first dose of the vaccine.
Bacteria cause meningococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis, the emergency swelling of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord, or meningococcemia.
The bacteria spread though prolonged, close contact.
Regarding the response to the mass vaccination clinic, Lane County Public Health spokesman Jason Davis said, “I think the numbers were not as high as we would have liked them to be, but certainly around where we expected.”