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Update: U. of I. senior died of non-contagious bacterial infection


Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —Tests revealed a 21-year-old University of Illinois senior died last week of a non-contagious bacterial infection, campus health officials said today (Feb. 25).

The male student did not have a contagious form of meningitis, said Dr. Robert D. Palinkas, the director of the McKinley Health Center on the Urbana campus. The student, a biology major from Mokena, Ill., died Thursday at a Joliet hospital.

Palinkas said Monday that a female student continues to make “excellent progress” since being hospitalized Wednesday with a bacterial infection later diagnosed as meningococcal meningitis, a contagious form of the disease.

“She’s doing great and is expected to be discharged from the hospital this week,” he said.

No new cases of the illness have been reported, Palinkas said.

The man’s death and the woman’s illness are not connected and were caused by “completely different types of bacteria,” he said.

Campus health officials have contacted anyone they believe may have had close contact with the female student, offering antibiotics for the prevention of meningitis, he said. As a precaution, the same protocol initially was followed in the case of the male student.

Palinkas said the antibiotics are 100 percent effective when there are no symptoms of meningitis, which include high fever, stiff neck and headache. Students with any of those symptoms should seek medical attention immediately, campus officials said.

More information about meningitis is available on the McKinley Health Center Web site.