A Cuesta College student who lives in San Luis Obispo died Wednesday shortly before midnight from what health officials believe was a case of bacterial meningitis. Laboratory testing to confirm this diagnosis is underway.
Because of the serious nature of the illness, the Public Health Department is working with local hospitals, Cuesta College and people close to the student to identify any individuals who may have a potential risk of infection. Those individuals are receiving preventive antibiotics.
“This loss is devastating for everyone involved,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, Health Officer of the County of San Luis Obispo. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and everyone who cared about this young person.”
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis usually include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It can start with symptoms similar to flu, and will often also cause nausea, vomiting, rash, confusion and increased sensitivity to light.