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UMass Amherst Just Declared a Meningitis Outbreak. Here's What to Know

From TIME - November 29, 2017

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has declared a meningitis outbreak on campus, after two students tested positive for the same strain of meningococcal disease, a type of bacterial infection known as meningitis when it infiltrates the lining of the spinal cord and brain.

UMass Amherst, which conducted testing in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC, announced the outbreak on Wednesday. Heres what you need to know.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis involves inflammation of the membranes, or meninges, that line the brain and spinal cord, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its typically caused by a viral infection, but in some cases bacteria or fungus can also be to blame. Cases of the disease range in severity, but it can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of meningitis?

Many meningitis symptomssuch as fever, nausea, vomiting and lack of appetitecan be confused with the flu or other less-serious diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic. Differentiating symptoms include a stiff neck, a particularly severe or unusual headache, confusion, difficulty concentrating, seizures, light sensitivity and, sometimes, a skin rash that resembles pinpricks.

How is meningitis treated?

How does meningitis spread?

How is UMass Amherst handling the meningitis outbreak?

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