Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW student in critical condition

A University of Wisconsin student was in critical condition as of Monday after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, according to UW Health officials.

Aaron Conklin, senior media specialist for UW Hospital and Clinics, said the student was in critical condition but was not able to add anything else.

Director of University Health Services Sarah Van Orman said those in contact with the student have been notified.


“In general with any case like this, people are contacted just as quickly as anyone found out about it,” she said.

UW officials learned about the illness Jan. 25, and those in contact with the student have received antibiotics, according to John Lucas, a UW spokesperson.

According to a Facebook page set up by friends and family to garner support, UW Senior Neha Suri was rushed to the hospital the morning of Jan. 25.

As of Jan. 26, Suri was in an induced coma and expected to stay in stable but critical condition for “at least the next few days,” according to the page.

The page also said there was not a definite prognosis regarding brain activity.

“For every bit of good news, we hear some bad news,” the page said.

A CaringBridge Web site was also established to update friends and family of Suri’s condition.

An entry on the site from Jan. 31 said, “As of this afternoon, an update would not be appropriate.”

In addition, the Facebook page said members of Suri’s family arrived Jan. 25, and her mother arrived from Singapore Jan. 26.

It also asked students to keep Suri and her family in their thoughts and prayers.

“For those of you who know Neha, you know how strong she is and that she is fighting her hardest,” the page said. “Keep that in mind as a measure of confidence and comfort.”

This being the first case at UW since 2007, Van Orman said while bacterial meningitis is scary, it manifests sporadically.

She said people are exposed to it more than we think, with some people even acting as carriers.

“Coming in contact or carrying the bacteria is not the same as getting sick,” Van Orman said. “In fact the vast, vast, vast majority of people who come in contact or carry the bacteria won’t get sick.”

Van Orman said the disease is a bacterial infection of the brain and body.

“It causes an inflammation around the lining of the brain but…the toxins that the bacteria produces can spread throughout the body as well,” she said.

Bacterial meningitis is particularly dangerous because the symptoms are what Van Orman called “non-specific,” meaning they are not distinct from other illnesses such as influenza.

Symptoms include a headache, fever and stiff neck. Van Orman added that a rash sometimes forms as well.

Bacterial meningitis is spread via direct contact with infected saliva, such as through sharing cups or kissing.

Van Orman encouraged anyone with questions about bacterial meningitis to call UHS.

Despite the seriousness of the illness, Van Orman said students should not worry about contracting it.

“There’s really nothing to be fearful about right now,” she said.

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