Meningitis scare at UW Oshkosh
Last week the University of Oshkosh canceled weekend classes and activities when Music Professor Charles Combe came down with a case of bacterial meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis is a serious, but rare, disease that attacks the nervous system, causing a swelling of the brain and spinal cord. The disease is only contracted in one out of every 100,000 people per year, but the risk of infection is higher in a community living situation, such as a college campus. Nurse Carol Saunders from the Health Center said that, “students party together, which means drinking, kissing, and sharing glasses,” all of which can contribute to the spread of meningitis.
The chancellor of UW-Oshkosh decided to close the campus the afternoon that the faculty member was diagnosed. It was not a full quarantine, however. University of Oshkosh student Sarah Nielsen says, “students weren’t confined to their rooms. People could go home and no one was forced to stay on campus… The dining area was still open, too.”
Saunders said, “He [the chancellor] has been criticized for overreacting, but it may have been better to be safe than sorry.”
No other students have come down with the illness since Combe’s case. Saunders adds that bacterial meningitis is “the nightmare of all health and administrative officials on campus.”
Bacterial meningitis provides a much larger threat than its viral counterpart. Viral meningitis is an untreatable, common illness that runs a short, relatively non-threatening course. Bacterial meningitis is a lot more serious and sometimes fatal. Saunders said, “One of the reasons the illness is so frightening is that it looks like the flu at first, with fever, headache, and nausea.”
The meningitis vaccine protects against the bacterial infection, but it takes two weeks until the vaccine takes effect.
The National Health Association has recommended that freshmen should be immunized against meningitis. The vaccine is available for about $60 at the Health Center. Said Saunders, “If you think you might be infected, contact the health center immediately.”
Choirs perform Killer B’s concert
Vocal compositions from a distinctive set of classical composers took the stage as Lawrence University’s Concert Choir, Chorale, and Women’s Choir performed before a full house at the Memorial Chapel this past Saturday.
The performance, entitled “Killer B’s: Music of Bach, Badings, Bardos, Bernstein, Bodin, Brahms, and Bruch,” was conducted by conservatory professors Richard Bjella and David Erb.
The evening opened with Chorale performing pieces by Bruch and Bach before continuing with the alternating performances of Women’s and Concert Choir. Also featured in Britten’s “Missa Brevis” were the combined vocal talents of sopranos Marianna Allen and Laura Fessler, alto Kami Jo Radsek, and Women’s Choir.
The concert concluded with Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” with the solo quartet of Brenda Rae Klinkert, soprano; Kami Jo Radsek, alto; Benjamin Horvat, tenor; Timothy Schmidt, bass; and Kathleen Raschko, mezzo soprano, accompanying the combined choirs.
Reporting by Rachel Hoerman and Megan McGlone