A Santa Barbara City College international student fell victim to spinal meningitis, an infection that attacks the brain and spinal cord, three weeks ago. She awoke from a coma September 8, as stated by original reporting from the college’s student newspaper, The Channels.
Twenty other students received antibiotics from the county’s Public Health Department after being in contact with the infected student, according to Carola Smith, director of the international students office at the college.
The health department assured the college that all individuals suspected of exposure have been assessed and treated, according to the college’s President Andreea Serban. No other cases of spinal meningitis have been reported since the county’s precautions.
Death rates for meningitis victims are five times greater for the 15- to 24-year-old age group, according to the National Association of School Nurses. The infection can be transmitted through kissing, sharing drinking glasses, and living in crowded, confined spaces, like dormitories.