(Updated 11/20/11 at 6:40 p.m.) In response to two confirmed cases of students contracting meningococcal meningitis, Lehigh University offered free antibiotics to the entire campus community on Sunday at Lamberton Hall as a public health precaution. The antibiotics (one 500 mg dose of Cipro taken orally or an alternative taken orally) were administered from 10 a.m. until early evening Sunday. By 6 p.m., 4,290 doses were administered to members of the Lehigh community.
The clinic to administer the prophylactic dose of the antibiotic at Lamberton Hall will continue on Monday, beginning at 9 a.m. and running through 4 p.m. Anyone interested in receiving the antibiotic (including students, faculty and staff) is encouraged to complete the consent form before going to Lamberton. Medical staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice.
The Lehigh University Health Center will reopen Monday at 8 a.m. Anyone who needs medical attention when the Health Center is closed should contact the Lehigh University Police Department at 610-758-4200.
Both students with meningococcal meningitis remain at St. Luke’s Hospital, where they are responding to treatment. There are no other known or suspected cases at this time, although a number of students with symptoms were evaluated. Our medical staff, in consultation with public health authorities and with experts in infectious diseases, is closely monitoring the situation and is following established medical protocols. We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments.
Please note that meningitis is typically spread only through close contact such as shared saliva, or prolonged contact with a person who is infected. It is not spread through casual contact such as being present in the same classroom or eating in the same dining hall.
Students who are at home should seek advice from their family doctor or go to a medical center to make them aware of the situation and receive a preventive treatment for meningococcal meningitis, a type of bacterial meningitis.
We greatly appreciate the cooperation on the part of our students and for the support of staff and faculty who enthusiastically responded to our call for volunteers to assist at today’s clinic.
Susan C. Kitei, M.D.
Director, Health and Wellness Center