After health officials believed a CSU student died of meningitis early Wednesday, the Larimer County Coronerâ€™s Office said in a press release late the same night that meningitis was not the cause of death.
After an autopsy, McKee Medical Centerâ€™s James Wilkerson said meningitis had been ruled out as the cause of death for CSU sophomore Christina Adame and that more will be known pending microbiology and laboratory results.
Adame died Wednesday at 2 a.m. She was admitted to the hospital at 9 p.m. Tuesday after reporting flu-like symptoms to her mom, Nancy Adame, at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
Another student, freshman undeclared major Zachary Ratzlaff, was placed in the intensive care unit at Poudre Valley Hospital after experiencing similar symptoms to Adame and later moved to a regular medical floor late Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, a physician at the Larimer County Department of Health, said doctors determined that Ratzlaff, who lives in the C-wing of Corbett Hall, is in fair condition and has an illness that does not appear life threatening.
Some lab findings suggest he may have caught a viral infection, but he will be treated for meningococcal disease until that possibility is ruled out.
Officials are unaware of any connection between the two students and are working to get roommates, family and anyone connected with the students treated with an antibiotic, according to a university press release.
Adame was a 23-year-old international studies major who lived off campus. She originally complained of having a fever and body aches, but no one realized how serious her condition was.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t until late in the day, early evening that I became aware of how severe things had gotten,â€ Nancy Adame said. â€œIt changed from flu symptoms to severe extremely quickly.â€
Meningitis is a rare but deadly disease that can be fatal in about 10 percent of cases, according to the Department of Health and Environment.
Most symptoms are described as flu-like including headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fever. If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antibiotics.
Other symptoms include neck stiffness, discomfort when looking into bright lights, diarrhea, aching or sore muscles, difficulty walking, general malaise, drowsiness, confusion, collapse, rash of red-purple pinprick spots or larger bruises, painful or swollen joints and moaning, incoherent speech.
The disease is known to strike quickly with almost no warning and can happen within 24 hours of contracting the virus.
Adame and Ratzlaff had received the meningitis vaccination, although health officials warn that the vaccination is not a 100 percent guarantee. Not everyone will respond effectively to the vaccine; it is only effective 80 to 90 percent of the time, according to LeBailley.
â€œThatâ€™s what makes this disease so devastating,â€ she said.
Students can receive vaccinations at Hartshorn Health Center for $15. CSU carries fewer than 50 vaccinations at a time but can order more from the Department of Health, said Anne Hudgens, dean of students and interim executive director of the CSU Health Network.
Any student who believes he or she may have been exposed should call the CSU Health Network at 970-491-2147. Students who believe they are experiencing meningitis symptoms should visit Hartshorn Health Center during business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. If students need treatment after hours they should go to the emergency room.
News Editor David Martinez contributed to this report.
ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.