After one student had to have both of his feet amputated since contracting meningitis, the University of California, Santa Barbara campus is taking extreme precautions out of fear more students may get the highly-contagious infection. Three other students have already become ill from meningitis, and at least 500 others are on antibiotics to prevent catching it themselves. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.
A University of California, Santa Barbara student had both of his feet amputated after he contracted meningitis in an outbreak that sickened three other students, school and health officials said.
Aaron Loy, an 18-year-old freshman lacrosse player, had both of his feet amputated when the disease affected the blood supply to his limbs.
He and three other students with meningococcal disease became ill within a three-week time period of November, with Loy’s case resulting in permanent disability, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said Monday.
The UCSB Lacrosse team posted a link on its Facebook page to a CaringBridge donation website for Loy's recovery, including medical costs, specialized equipment and future athletic prosthetics.
The student’s parents, Mike and Kristen Loy announced Wednesday two more funds had been established for Aaron's recovery.
"With Aaron's passionate drive and competitive spirit, we are confident that he will return to UCSB and resume his athletic lifestyle as quickly as possible," his friends and family said on the website.
The family posted journal entries chronicling the student's medical journey, which included numerous surgeries on his legs and arms to improve his circulation and relieve dangerous pressure, and multiple other surgeries to alleviate the swelling in his limbs and remove blood clots.
To save his lower legs and to reduce the risk of further infection, doctors amputated Aaron's feet on Nov. 20, his family said.
In an attempt to prevent more students from becoming infected, the school said it is providing antibiotics to more than 500 students who had contact with the four who were sickened, school officials said Monday.
Bacterial meningitis can be spread through kissing, coughing or prolonged contact. Symptoms can include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting.
For information on how to help the Loy family, visit the CaringBridge website.
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