Meningitis Concerns in the Tennessee Valley

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 11/22/2013 6:53 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)- There are eight reported cases of meningitis at Princeton University, three at the University of California Santa Barbara, and one suspected case at Georgia Tech.

Some health experts are calling it a meningitis crisis.

Doctor Eugene Ryan, with Parkridge Medical Group, says, "Bleeding of the skin, blood vessels clotting off, they start losing fingers and toes."

UTC student CJ Murrell does not think we'll see the disease spread to nearby colleges, but local doctors say it's a very real concern.

Ryan adds, "You always worry about college dorms, high schools, military recuits in barracks, things like that."

When the membranes covering your spinal cord and brain become inflamed you get meningitis.

Within 8 to 12 hours you can pass it to others though close contact like coughing, kissing, and sharing your food.

Ryan adds, "If someone came into the office today and I was concerned they had meningitis, I'd be admitting them to the hospital to start these procedures and start the iv and antibiotics."

If you start feeling nauseous, get a stiff neck, and a high fever, doctors suggest not taking any chances, especially now, go and see your doctor.

Murrell says, "I'm a huge believer that sometimes medicine can actually hurt you, especially if its not approved in the us so far. I don't think I would risk it."

But doctors say there is in fact an approved vaccine out there, a once in a lifetime shot, and it helps about 65 percent of those who get it.

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