'This outbreak is not over': Meningitis case in UO dad

EUGENE, Ore. -- A man may have contracted meningitis while visiting his daughter on the University of Oregon campus earlier in May, Oregon Public Health said.

The 52-year-old man is the seventh person with meningococcal disease since a campus outbreak began in January.

The outbreak has left public health officials frustrated because fewer than half of the nearly 20,000 undergraduate students they'd hoped to vaccinate have gotten the first dose of the vaccine. It's offered in two or three dose courses and you're not fully immunized unless you take the full course.

The vaccine is intended to prevent the strain of meningococcal bacteria that leads to meningococcemia, the condition that killed a University of Oregon student-athlete and sickened 3 others.

Their goal is to get the meningococcal B vaccineto all of the undergraduate students, the OHA said.

The state Health Authority said Friday the parent's case demonstrates that the disease is lingering on the campus, and students should get vaccinated.

"This outbreak is not over," said Jonathon Modi of the Oregon Health Authority.

The agency says the man visited his daughter May 2-3. Where he went on campus and in the community is not known, Modi said. It said his close contacts have gotten preventive antibiotic treatment.

He has since returned to his home state, which is not Oregon, Modi said.

Modi said OHA can't release where the man lives. Health officials in his state have been alerted, Modi said, although the man is not considered a threat to the public.

Regarding the fact that school lets out in two weeks and many students will be heading home, Dr. Emily Fisher of Oregon's Public Health Division, said, "The best thing those students can do is get vaccinated to protect themselves and to stop any more cases from happening."

Fisher said the state is not recommending that family members of students get vaccinated.

The disease is spread through close contact with oral secretions, she said, and anyone visiting or staying at the UO campus should not share food, drinks, lipstick, lip balm or anything that touches the mouth.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include a sudden fever, headache and stiff neck. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, an increased sensitivity to light and altered mental status - or confusion. Symptoms can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within three-to-seven days after exposure.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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