Dec 092010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

A CSU student is in fair condition after contracting meningococcal sepsis.

The Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed that junior sociology major Kurt Solomon, 20, is conscious and recovering well at Poudre Valley Hospital, PVH, and is said to be in good condition.

“We are just so pleased that Kurt is doing well,” said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.

Solomon’s three roommates brought him to PVH Tuesday after he experienced vomiting and a sore throat. PVH treated him for meningococcal disease upon arrival.

“This young man has had a really good outcome primarily because he was treated really quickly,” said Anne Hudgens, interim director of CSU Health Network.

Officials have not determined whether Solomon’s case is linked to the seven other cases of meningococcal disease diagnosed in Colorado in the past year. The outbreak has resulted in the deaths of three hockey players who contracted the bacteria in Fort Collins over the summer and a Metropolitan State University student in April.

Another CSU student contracted meningitis in conjunction with the hockey players but made a full recovery.

Hudgens said Solomon’s case is probably linked to the outbreak.

CSU student Christina Adame died in October of what some health officials initially thought was meningococcal sepsis. Adame actually had waterhouse-friedrickson syndrome, not meningitis, which shut down her adrenal glands and made her susceptible to blood poisoning.

Both waterhouse-friedrickson syndrom and meningitis are caused by the presence of the bacteria neisseria meningitides. In Adame’s case, the bacteria attacked her adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys and help regulate the body’s endocrine system.

The Larimer County Deputy Coroner Louis Greek said that Adame was unable to fight off a case of sepsis, or blood poisoning, because of this. Greek said the bacteria are found in about 10 to 15 percent of the population who carry the bacteria without getting sick.

Solomon got the vaccine in 2006, but did not receive the booster shot. Officials recommend a booster every three years because the vaccine will lose its potency.

Hartshorn Heath Services treated 13 other people that Solomon had direct contact with prior to his hospitalization.

CSU is encouraging students to get free vaccinations at the Hartshorn Health Services before winter break since they are a high-risk group for the bacteria because they tend to share items such as dining utensils, drinks and cigarettes­­­. The university encourages students not to share these items as a precautionary measure. There are currently 300 vaccines but more will be ordered if needed.

“The most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to get vaccinated,” Hudgens said.

Preventative action is another point that the university is promoting. Students should take care of themselves and not hesitate to seek medical attention upon illness.

“It does scare me a little, but I do think after the vaccine a lot of people are going to be a lot safer,” said Mica Olson, a watershed sciences major, about the meningococcal disease outbreak.

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

About hartshorn health center

  • Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • Vaccinations: 300 at the moment, but will order more if needed
  • Cost: Free
  • Meningococcal Hotline: 970-491-2147 during Hartshorn hours
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