Daily Archives: April 7, 2011

Meningitis Goes Back To School

Published April 7, 2011

This post was written by Meena Ganesan.


A health issue that hasn’t faded since its rise in college dorm rooms 10 years ago is back in the news: meningitis.

A 21-year-old college student at Franklin Pierce University died Tuesday night from bacterial meningitis at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, according to a report in the Telegram & Gazette.

Sophomore Benjamin Plante was a commuter student at the New Hampshire college. He had come home Friday with a sore throat. His father Steven Plante said he had complained of achy, flu-like symptoms over the weekend.

The Centers for Disease Control describes bacterial meningitis as an “infection in the membranes that covers the brain and spinal cord.” The disease is different than the less serious viral meningitis, which can generally be cleared up by treatment. In cases that don’t result in death, bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage or hearing loss.

The CDC’s symptoms for bacterial meningitis are similar to those of viral meningitis and include:

  • High fever
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Pressure-related rash

WBUR spoke with Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, New Hampshire’s deputy state epidemiologist. She said there’s one vaccine available for the strain of meningitis called Neisseria meningitidis. Since 2006, according to Odom, the vaccine has decreased the fatality rate of meningitis.

The CDC says college students are at an increased risk for meningitis because of their close-quarter living situations. But Odom says different colleges different have entrance requirements for immunizations. Some require the vaccine, while some only recommend it.

Thursday Morning: Cape Cod Camp In Controversy

Published April 7, 2011

The story of a Cape Cod summer camp embroiled in sexual assault allegations continues to deepen. A camp employee apparently committed suicide yesterday on camp grounds. His mother said she suspected years ago that her son was a pedophile and alerted camp officials.

Camp Good News in Sandwich first came under scrutiny in February when Sen. Scott Brown released a book saying he was abused at a christian summer camp on the Cape.

After meetings on Beacon Hill yesterday, Gov. Deval Patrick and state lawmakers are asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to delay re-licensing the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth as they try to make sure the state is prepared for a nuclear disaster like the one unfolding in Japan.

Construction at the Government Center T stop could close the commuting hub for three years. Starting in November 2012, the more than 21,000 commuters that use the stop each day may need to alter their commutes thanks to an effort to complete planned renovations on time and under budget.

Colleagues, friends and family members gathered yesterday to remember Rev. Peter Gomes, the longtime Harvard Divinity School professor. Gomes, the beloved head of the school’s Memorial Church, was a black, openly gay, Republican theologian. Judging by the line to get in to his memorial service, he will be missed.

Ever wondered whose hands are cradling the iPod in the latest Apple ad? It could be “one-half of what is known as the hottest couple in hand modeling,” according to the Globe. Please, stifle your chuckles and clamp down your Zoolander references, because they’re so hot right now.

What we’re following: We’ll have a reporter in Sandwich following the Camp Good News story and reporters at the State House covering pension plan discussions.