Meningitis Outbreak At UMD

Meningitis Outbreak At UMD

10
views

Ebola may be making headlines, but it isn’t the virus most people should be afraid of. Every year, thousands of students and faculty at universities across the country fall victim to outbreaks of viruses such as meningitis, gastroenteritis and mumps.      

The University of Maryland is the latest to have an outbreak of a virus -- viral meningitis. The number of cases has grown to 20 at UMD, according to the University Health Center.     

“Since this discovery, the Health Center has been tracking these cases carefully in close collaboration with the Prince George’s County Health Department and the State Health Department,” David McBride, the director of the health center said in an address to the University.      

Viral meningitis is not as dangerous as the bacterial strain of the virus. According to McBride, symptoms of viral meningitis include severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting and, sometimes, dehydration.      

“I think it [the outbreak] is very concerning and ever since I found out about it, I have been very cautious about sharing drinks or anything from people at parties,” Jenny Gandhi, a senior at UMD said.      

UMD is not the first college to be hit with an outbreak where students and faculty members fall ill and, in some cases, have to be admitted to the hospital. A common virus to spread quickly around universities is mumps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is a vaccine-preventable viral disease, characterized by the swelling of the salivary glands; serious complications, such as meningitis can occur if the virus goes untreated.      

In October 2011, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed a mumps outbreak at the University of California-Berkeley. The number of suspected and confirmed cases grew to 44 and began when a UC Berkeley student contracted the virus in Great Britain, according to the CDPH.

The virus quickly spread through the highly populated student dorms. The university health services focused preventive efforts on those areas and encouraged students to get the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine (MMR).      

Along with mumps, gastroenteritis is also very commonly spread throughout colleges. It is an intestinal infection caused by norovirus and is marked by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting and sometimes fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is contracted through close contact with an infected person, or from contaminated food or water.      

In the spring of 2011, the norovirus hit Spring Arbor University in Michigan so severely that the university postponed its commencement by one week. The University reported that over 170 students were infected and hoped that postponing the commencement would help stop the spread of the virus.

“These decisions are preventative and consistent with the medical advice received. Of utmost concern for all of us is the safety and health of our campus community and the families and friends planning on participating in the various academic year-end activities,” University President at the time, Charles Webb said in an address to the university. “Spring Arbor University has a responsibility of doing what is in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus.”

All of these viruses are so common among college students because everyone is living and eating in such close quarters. Sharing bathrooms is also a large factor when it comes to the spread of viruses. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), “college freshmen who live in dormitories are six times more likely than other people to be infected with meningitis. They have the country's highest rate of the disease, at 5.1 cases per 100,000.”    

Currently dealing with an outbreak of meningitis, UMD's recent spread of meningitis is now suspected as stemming from the respiratory enterovirus-68 that has spread across the nation. The state public health lab in Maryland is conducting further testing to confirm this connection, State Epidemiologist Dr. David Blythe said.     

According to the university health center, five meningitis cases were confirmed as having been caused by an enterovirus, however, with more than 100 strains of the virus, the University is not certain which strain caused the meningitis, and predicted that it may be weeks before officials know. The University is urging students and faculty to stay vigilant in personal hygiene and hand washing in order to control and stop the spread of the virus.

























Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1544026
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Joined WW Freestyle And Here Are 10 Ways It's Positively Affected My Life

Healthy Habits = Happy Tummy

158
views

I know its a stereotypical New Years resolution, but this year I took myself seriously and decided to join WW Freestyle. It is a great program and 100% worth the price, which ranges from $3-$15/month. My parents and older sister have been doing it for a few years now so I decided to hop on the weight loss train.

It's probably the best decision I have made this year. It's not even the end of January but I feel more confident than ever, but that's not all!

Here are ten things WW Freestyle has done for me...

1. I eat MORE than I did before!

Giphy

And not just fruits and veggies!

Before WW, I was eating two meals a day, sometimes one. I thought that would help me lose weight, but if anything I gained. It was hard and I tried every "one special trick" in the book, but nothing worked.

Now I get X amount of daily points and I find someday's I'm looking for more food to use up all my points (which is very important). Not only do I get daily points, I get BONUS/weekly points that have to be used by the end of the week, so if I want to indulge or splurge, I can! Sweet treats here I come!

2. I look in the mirror with confidence!

Giphy

I only joined two weeks ago and I already feel more confident and beautiful, and I haven't even lost much weight yet! Just the idea that I am on my way to a healthier body inside and out gives me a boast of much needed self-confidence.

3. Its teaching me healthy habits.

Giphy

Before choosing to just swing by Starbucks or McDonalds I now think, "do I have points for that?" and since I can't check my phone while driving, I then decide it'd be better to just go home and eat a hearty and healthy dinner.

And hey! If I do have the points you can best bet I'll be indulging in some chicken nuggets and fries!

4. I've become part of a new, amazing community

Giphy

With the 6-month package I purchased, I get to attend weekly meetings! They are such a great support group and the leader of the group is amazing! It's a no judgement zone and even if you gained weight, its okay to share because its a learning and growing experience.

The environment of the meetings is so welcoming. And even if you just get the digital package, there is an online community as well that you can be a part of.

Everyone there is on the same or similar journey as you and the success stories keep you going because that could be you!

5. It's inspired me to exercise more!

Giphy

I used to barely ever exercise. I sat around all day on my computer procrastinating exercise. But now! I'm back in the pool swimming laps and attending a free water aerobics class up at Eastern!

I swam for 6 years of my life and its great to be back in the water! It's bringing back my lung capacity which has significantly dropped over the years of no exercise and I can feel the difference in my breathing.

You should never diet alone! Always, always get some sort of exercise at least 3 times a week. The weight comes off faster and you feel so much better.

(My article about being on the swim team)

6. I walk a little taller

And its not just the new confidence! Losing weight makes for a better posture as well! As a girl with a weak lower back, WW Freestyle has helped me so much already.

7. I feel healthier

Giphy

I can breathe easier, I'm lighter on my feet, and that's just for a start! I used to have really bad stomach/digestive issues but they haven't bothered me in the two weeks I've been a part of WW Freestyle.

Knock on wood, but I hope that they'll stop for good. Healthy habits = Happy Tummy.

8. I've started being more open to dating again

Giphy

Four years of low self-esteem and not liking who I see in the mirror is rough. With this new confidence, I joined a few dating websites to get myself out there again and it's going great!

Look out world! Here I come!

9. I'm discovering new foods I've never had before!

Giphy

Another great resource that comes with the WW Freestyle app is unlimited healthy recipes! I'm trying new foods for low points and feeling healthy and satisfied.

10. Its given me so much more energy!

Giphy

If only two weeks with the program has given me this much energy I can't wait to reach my goal!

Related Content

Facebook Comments