West Virginia University’s Student Health Service has advised 17 students who may have been exposed to meningitis to take an antibiotic as a precaution. The students spent time with a 20-year-old Virginia man who fell ill Sunday while visiting his brother,a WVU student.

The visitor, who was staying in an off-campus residence, is currently being treated for meningococcal meningitis, an infection of the spinal fluid, at WVU Hospitals.

The case appears isolated, says Jan Palmer, M.D., student health director.

The student health office has worked with the Monongalia County Health Department to identify people who may have been exposed to the disease. Students who had been exposed to the patient were asked to visit the health service and speak with a physician, and were prescribed an antibiotic.

Anyone who develops the combination of a stiff neck, headache,high fever, and sore throat, or most of these symptoms, should seek medical attention immediately.

The health service offered similar precautionary treatment last week to eight people who had been in contact with a WVU law student who developed a similar illness, meningococcemia. The individuals were not in contact with one another, and the two cases do not appear to be related, Dr. Palmer said.

Students who need advice or want more information can contact Student Health at 293-2311.