Meningitis Concern Beyond UCSB Campus

Students advised to take precautions in groups going to nightclubs and social events

John Palminteri, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Senior Reporter, johnp1250@aol.com
POSTED: 07:06 PM PST Dec 03, 2013    UPDATED: 07:17 PM PST Dec 03, 2013 
ISLA VISTA, Calif. -

UC Santa Barbara students have toned down their large parties, and many other group activities after concerns linked to a meningitis outbreak.

One student, a freshmen lacrosse player,  has lost his feet due to the illness. Cleaning has been stepped up in residence halls, and recreation facilities, where the virus can be transmitted.

"I think everyone was relaxed after there was only three.  Now with the fourth case, everyone is buzzing again," said student Thomas Tedesco.  "I think everyone is a little panicked."

In a town know for students with high academics and wild parties, "I know a lot of people that are a lot less parties, and a lot less noise in the streets.  Students are really taking it to heart," said Tedesco.

The UCSB student health department has offered antibiotic pills for those who believe they have been at risk to the virus that causes meningitis.

"The best thing you do is get the pill," said  Isla vista resident Jamie Arnold. "If you have been in contact or think you have, go to student health and get that pill."

"Student health, they are doing a good job helping everyone,"said Evan Connley a student who is also in a sorority.

The concern is not just on the campus or the nearby Isla Vista community where students live in tight conditions and often have close contact.

They also travel in large numbers to downtown Santa Barbara where there is a vibrant nightlife zone, and nearby the art oriented "funk zone" with restaurants, bars and tasting rooms.

"I think everyone is worried about being healthy instead of hanging out with their friends  and it's also finals so people are staying in," said Connley.

The only four cases reported have been UC Santa Barbara students.

The meningococcal disease is bacterial and can infect the blood stream.