University Of Hartford Student Dies Of Meningitis

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By Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant

WEST HARTFORD — The University of Hartford confirmed Saturday that meningitis was the cause of death of a Hartt School senior who lived off campus.

The state Department of Public Health determined that Patrick Chittenden died of bacterial meningitis, according to an evening alert to students from J. Lee Peters, vice president for student affairs.

Peters told students and staff to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms of meningitis and came into close contact with Chittenden within the last three weeks.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include high fever, severe headache, an extremely stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, red rash, sensitivity to bring light, confusion and irritability.

“On behalf of the University, I again want to offer our deepest condolences to Patrick’s family and friends,” Peters wrote.

“The University is working to provide information and treatment to Patrick’s off-campus roommates and people within his close circle of friends, and we are working closely with the State Department of Public Health and the West Hartford Department of Public Health to ensure the health and well-being of our University community,” he said.

“All University of Hartford students are required to get the meningitis vaccine before enrolling, so the likelihood is that you are already protected,” the letter said.

Bacterial meningitis is a communicable disease spread through saliva and mucus, but the bacteria spreads less easily than the common cold or influenza because it cannot live outside the body for more than a few minutes.

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