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Health Advisory: Confirmed Case of Bacterial Meningitis


Posted 05/03/2014
Posted by David Isgur

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Updated on Monday, May 5

The following is a message from Vice President for Student Affairs Lee Peters.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing to provide you with some updated information regarding the health advisory that was issued on Saturday, May 3.

None of the more than 130 students who have visited Campus Health Services yesterday and today were symptomatic for meningitis. Health Services (860.768.6601) will continue to offer extended hours (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) for students and others today through Wednesday. No appointment is necessary. While Health Services will be open until 7 p.m. today, Tuesday, and Wednesday, you should plan to get there no later than 6 p.m. to make sure there is time for you to be seen before the closing hour.

The Counseling and Psychological Services office (GSU 313, 860.768.4482) is also fully staffed and is available to provide support to students who need someone to talk to following Patrick Chittenden’s sudden passing. If you cannot come in to the CAPS office and are a residential student, you can talk with your Resident Director, who is available to provide support.

Funeral services for Patrick will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) in North Carolina. Patrick’s friends at The Hartt School held a vigil in his honor last night at Elizabeth Park in Hartford.

This information is also posted at www.hartford.edu/healthalert. As updates are available, they will be posted to that site.

Sincerely,

Dr. J. Lee Peters
Vice President for Student Affairs

Updated on Sunday, May 4

Campus Health Services will be open extended hours, Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Health Services is open today (Sunday) until 4 p.m. Students are encouraged to call for an appointment before going to Health Services, at 860.768.6601.

Updated on Saturday, May 3

The following is a message from Vice President for Student Affairs Lee Peters.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I wrote to you yesterday regarding the untimely death of Patrick Chittenden, a senior Hartt School student who lived off campus. Today I was informed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health that the cause of death was bacterial meningitis. This is a communicable disease, treatable with antibiotics, that is spread by saliva and mucus through coughing, sneezing, or during close contact activities such as kissing, sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health notes "since meningococcal bacteria cannot live for more than a few minutes outside the body, the disease is not spread as easily as the common cold or influenza."

Protection against the particular bacteria which caused Patrick's meningitis is included in the vaccines given in the United States which help to protect against developing meningitis. All University of Hartford students are required to get the meningitis vaccine before enrolling, so the likelihood is that you are already protected. The risk for developing meningitis is greater in students who have never been vaccinated against meningitis or have been vaccinated more than five years ago, as the vaccine may lose its effectiveness over time.

These are the symptoms associated with bacterial meningitis:

• High Fever
• Severe headache
• Extremely stiff neck
• Nausea/vomiting
• Red rash
• Sensitivity to bright lights
• Confusion/irritability


If you have had close contact (within three feet for any length of time) with Patrick during the past three weeks and you have any of these symptoms, you should visit a local emergency room as soon as you can to determine the meaning of the symptoms.

If you have had close contact (within three feet for any length of time) with Patrick during the past three weeks and you do not have any of these symptoms, you can visit Campus Health Services (860.768.6601) tomorrow (Sunday) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a dose of antibiotic that will protect you, as well as answers to any questions you may have.

The University is working to provide information and treatment to Patrick’s off-campus roommates and people within his close circle of friends, and we are working closely with the State Department of Public Health and the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District to ensure the health and well-being of our University community. Those interested in learning more about bacterial meningitis should visit the CDC's website.

On behalf of the University, I again want to offer our deepest condolences to Patrick’s family and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. J. Lee Peters
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Hartford

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