Riverside County Public Health Sees No Evidence of the Most Serious Form of Bacterial Meningitis

The staff member is recovering well under a doctor's care

A view of the center of campus from the UCR bell tower. Photo by Carlos Puma

Update on Friday, Dec. 13:

After reviewing laboratory tests results and the clinical information on the employee, the County of Riverside Department of Public Health has determined that the UCR employee does not have the most serious form of bacterial meningitis.

The first diagnosis came from a physician working with the staff member’s family.

Due to privacy laws, UCR will not be releasing the name of the employee, who is recovering well under a doctor’s care.


This is the original press release that was sent last Tuesday.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A staff member at UC Riverside was diagnosed with a suspected case of bacterial meningitis over the weekend. Due to privacy laws, UCR will not be releasing the name of the employee.

The university is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease, which includes alerting the campus community to the situation; contacting and advising people whom public health officials believe are at risk; thoroughly cleaning the office areas affected; and working closely with the Riverside County Department of Public Health.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea and confusion. Anyone with those symptoms should contact a doctor immediately. The UCR Health Center is available to UC Riverside students. Faculty and staff should contact their own physicians as needed.

The university continues to work with the physicians involved in the diagnosis to ascertain the precise strain of bacterial meningitis contracted by the employee.

“Bacterial meningitis is not as contagious as the cold or the flu, but it is still wise to take precautions,” said UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox in a statement sent out to all students, staff and faculty members.

Dr. G. Richard Olds, an expert in contagious diseases and the dean of UCR’s School of Medicine, said just being in the same room as an infected person is not enough to spread the disease. It is transmitted through sharing saliva.

What can be done to prevent the spread of the disease?

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, especially before eating.
  • Do not share utensils, water bottles or other items contaminated by another person.
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid other people who are ill, if possible.
  • Avoid crowded, smoky settings, as smoke seems to make people more vulnerable.
  • Get a flu shot to stay well.

A web site with more information is available here:http://newsroom.ucr.edu/announcements/2013-12-9meningitis.html

Here is a link to the Riverside County Department of Public Health:http://www.rivcoph.org/Portals/0/LatestNews/Prevent_Meningococcal_Disease_and_Detect_It_Early.pdf

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