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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mt. Horeb, UW meningitis deaths not linked

Officials say the bacterial meningitis death of an area high school student Saturday is not connected to the case that killed a UW-Madison senior earlier this month.

Haleyem Thorpe, 16, who attended Mount Horeb High School, died suddenly Saturday from a case of meningococcal meningitis, which is the same type of meningitis that killed UW-Madison senior Neha Suri in early February.

Suri, who was a UW-Madison journalism and political science major and originally from Singapore, was rushed to the hospital Jan. 25 and passed away Feb. 2.

Sarah Van Orman, director of University Health Services, said although both cases involved the meningococcal type of meningitis, the instances are not necessarily from the same strain.

According to Van Orman, the disease usually occurs in isolated instances and officials have no evidence to believe these cases are linked.

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 Van Orman added that the disease is extremely rare, only occurring in about one in 100,000 college students.

She said the campus and Madison area are currently not in any danger.

According to the Center for Disease Control's web site, bacterial meningitis is contagious, but not as severely as a cold or influenza. Individuals can only transmit the bacteria by ""exchanging respiratory and throat secretions,"" such as coughing and kissing, but they are not spread ""by casual contact.""

Van orman said even this interaction with an infected person is only ""going from a very, very small risk to a small risk,"" she said.

Van Orman said the symptoms of the disease are typically similar to those of the flu and can include a high fever, headache and sometimes a stiff neck.

She said, however, that the disease progresses quickly and can become critical within a few days.

For more information about bacterial meningitis visit

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