Student with meningitis on life support

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2014 1:18 AM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An 18-year-old San Diego State University student with meningitis remained on life support late Friday night but she was not expected to recover.

Sara Stelzer, a freshman and Kappa Delta sorority member, was hospitalized with the bacterial infection on Tuesday.

The school announced Friday morning that she had died but later revised that because the family was keeping her on life support over the possibility that her organs may be donated, university spokesman Greg Block said Friday night.

The family had given permission for the school to release the death notification, Block said.

"Her parents told us...that they had signed her death certificate and said their goodbyes," he said.

"Our message this morning was acting in accordance with the family's wishes to offer condolences to our university community and provide information to our grieving students," Block said in a statement.

It was unclear how long the family would keep the teen on life support. In the meantime, the campus is making counseling available to students, Block said.

San Diego County has reported six cases of meningitis this year, including one that resulted in the death of a high school student in February. The county has had an average of 10 cases a year over the past five years.

Dr. Gregg Lichtenstein, director of student health services at the university, told students, faculty and staff in an email that several people have been treated and he recommended antibiotics as a preventive measure for anyone who was in contact with the woman.

The county Health and Human Services Agency has said Stelzer, who lived on campus, may have exposed others to the bacteria between Oct. 5 and Oct. 14.

The university has alerted students to common symptoms, like fever, intense headaches, lethargy and stiff necks. The bacteria can be spread through sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, cigarettes or water bottles.

Those most at risk included members of the Kappa Delta sorority, where Stelzer was a member.

On Friday, students streamed to the campus health center to get antibiotics, U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/1vFqwjL ) reported.

"It's just very surreal. It's very odd," said Haley Lu, a freshman who saw Stelzer on Monday — a day before Stelzer was hospitalized.

She described Stelzer as "quiet, hardworking and very sweet."