November 4, 2014

An article in The Campus Trainer about the viral meningitis outbreak at the University of Maryland featured advice from two School of Public Health professors on how to protect oneself from contracting the illness, as well as how the disease manifests and the role of vaccines. 

"[M]y emphasis would be to be alert about the symptoms, and to not hesitate to go to your primary care physician immediately with concerns,” said Dr. Muhiuddin Haider, a research associate professor in the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health. He also noted that the meningitis vaccine is only available for bacterial meningitis, not the viral kind that is affecting the campus.

While symptoms of viral meningitis often mimic the flu, Dr. Gretchen De Silva, lecturer in the Public Health Science program at College Park, said that more severe cases may include sensitivy to light, stiffness of neck, and naseau. She said that washing hands, not sharing items, and boosting one's immune through sufficient sleep helps prevent catching meningitis.

“And to protect others when you are sick? Try to stay home. Don’t go to class and infect other students,” Dr. De Silva said in The Campus Trainer interview.

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Meningitis outbreak has campus on guard

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Muhiuddin Haider, Gretchen E. De Silva