Seminole County teen contracts bacterial meningitis

18-year-old taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center

ORLANDO, Fla. – An 18-year-old Seminole County student was hospitalized after she contracted bacterial meningitis, health officials said.

The teen, who attends Seminole State College, was hospitalized over the weekend at Orlando Regional Medical Center and remained there on Tuesday, said Dr. Swannie Jett, of the the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County.

"Seminole State College has notified students and employees that a student has been diagnosed with a case of bacterial meningitis," the school said in a news release.  "The student, who is not being identified for privacy reasons, last attended a class on Wednesday, May 28, at the college's Oviedo Campus.  She was hospitalized on Saturday, May 31.  The 14 students who attended the class and the professor were notified by email and phone on Monday."

The school also said it met Tuesday with the student's professor and classmates.

"Seminole State is encouraging other students or employees with concerns to contact the Florida Department of Health-Seminole at 407-665-3294 or 407-665-3266," the school said.

No other details about the student were released. Seminole County health officials say they have seen about three cases in the last three years.

"The public shouldn't be concerned. this is an isolated incident, its very rare, but I'm always concerned for the patient because we want to make sure that they fully recover," said Dr. Swannie Jett of Seminole County Health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis is usually severe. While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, including brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.

The CDC says the germs that cause bacterial meningitis can be contagious. Some bacteria can spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, including kissing.

Most of the bacteria, however, that cause meningitis are not as contagious as viruses that cause the common cold or the flu, says the CDC, adding that the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.