PLYMOUTH (WWJ) – A Central Michigan University student from Livonia is dead, after he tested positive for bacterial meningitis.
The 19-year old Nicholas Collins, a freshman, died at St. Mary Mercy Hospital.
Dr. Robert Graham, at CMU’s health department, said they’ve been making contact with Collins’ roommates and other who might have been in contact with Collins.
He said there have been a circle of about 30 people who have been advised to be treated for prevention. Several students are taking antibiotics.
Employees at Oasis Golf in Plymouth, where Collins was working for the summer, are also being checked out. A co-worker said Collins had last been in on Monday.
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid that surrounds a person’s spinal cord and the brain. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria, but bacterial meningitis is more dangerous.
Bacterial meningitis can be transmitted through saliva secretions — including kissing or sharing drink or a cigarette.
Test results on which strain of meningitis Collins had are due back next week.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950, Dr. Paul Chittick, an infectious disease specialist at Beaumont Hospital, said some strains are preventable.
“The most common cause of bacterial meningitis in college age students is a bacteria called neisseria meningitidis, which there’s a vaccine for that we actively encourage kids and adolescents get before they go away to college,” Chittick said.
He said meningitis vaccines are safe and effective, but they can’t protect against every strain of the illness.
Symptoms include confusion, neck stiffness and sensitivity to light. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor. They’re also urged to contact CMU Health Services at 989-774-6577.