Mainers exposed to UNH student

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Health officials said Friday that antibiotics have been given to most of the dozens of people who had contact with a University of New Hampshire student who died this week of bacterial meningitis.

Twenty-one people in New Hampshire, 57 in Maine and 18 in Massachusetts were urged to get antibiotics based on having had contact with Danielle Thompson, 21, at parties and other events during the 10 days before her death on Wednesday, state health department spokesman Greg Moore said. He said most, including all the hospital workers who were exposed, had been treated.

Health Commissioner John Stephen said no one else had shown any symptoms.

Those exposed include residents of Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Illinois and Missouri, Moore said.

Thompson, who was from Bangor, Maine, died at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover. Thompson was home with her family for the holidays, but had gone back to UNH to visit friends before classes resumed, the Bangor Daily News reported Wednesday. A senior, she was studying speech pathology.

“This case underscores just how serious this illness can be,” Stephen said. “This has been a tragedy for the family and friends of this woman and the UNH community. I certainly hope it underscores the importance of practicing good hygiene by avoiding sharing utensils, water bottles and food.”

The bacteria are spread through saliva. Those who would be most at risk would be people who shared food and beverages, kissed or used the same utensils.

UNH said Wednesday that information on prevention and transmission of the disease will be available for students when they return from winter break on Jan. 16.

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