3rd SDSU student sickened with viral meningitis

SAN DIEGO - Three students have been sickened with viral meningitis at San Diego State University, prompting school officials and county health authorities to work together to prevent a wider outbreak.

Viral meningitis, while contagious, is not as serious as its bacterial counterpart and usually resolves itself without treatment in a week to 10 days, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency and SDSU Student Health Services.

"San Diego State University Student Health Services officials are working closely with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to monitor reported cases of meningitis," according to an SDSU statement. "Currently, we are not aware of any confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis among members of the San Diego State University community. We have been notified by the county that there are confirmed cases of viral meningitis among the SDSU student community."

The agencies said they would keep students and employees informed about the "ongoing health matter."

Health officials cautioned students and staff to practice good health habits to prevent the spread of the virus, including not sharing food, drinks or smoking material with other people; washing hands before eating and preparing food and after using the restroom; and staying home when ill.

SDSU health officials noted that such practices will also help protect against influenza and mononucleosis.

According to HHSA data, 139 cases of viral meningitis were reported to the county last year. The most cases over the recent five-year period was 329 in 2014.

The bacterial form is far less common, but the 54 cases reported last year were the most during those five years by a wide margin.