Photo credit: Family of Aaron Loy via CaringBridge
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 cases of a deadly disease in one week is considered an outbreak. The University of California Santa Barbara faced an invisible monster this week. Three students last week were admitted to the hospital, all three had contracted the infectious disease Meningitis. One of the students was the UCSB Gouchos’ lacrosse player, freshman Aaron Loy.
It is reported that if Aaron’s roommates waited any longer get him to the hospital, the results were likely to be fatal. Instead, doctors were able to treat him with antibiotics which cleared up the disease, unfortunately his feet had to be amputated as a result.
“Tragically the tissue, muscle and nerves in his feet became irreversibly necrotic. Yesterday, Aaron’s feet were amputated to save his lower legs and to reduce the risk of further infection” his family wrote on their CaringBridge page.
The strand that effected Aaron is still without vaccine, but the county encourages locals to get vaccinated for the 4 other strands that also exist. No other cases have been reported.
Early treatment is critical because the disease can quickly become life-threatening. A rash, which can be purple, appearing on the body accompanied by fever, can be a signal that a person has meningococcal disease.
Other symptoms include severe headache, body aches, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion, and can be mistaken for flu early in the course of the illness.
It is spread by exchanging respiratory and throat secretions, so sharing water bottles, cosmetics, toothbrushes, smoking materials and kissing can spread the disease.
Anyone with the signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek medical care immediately.
To follow up on Aaron’s recovery or to learn more, click here.