Two University of Maine nursing students have been diagnosed with viral meningitis, prompting the university to step up disinfection efforts to prevent new cases.

The students, one taking graduate courses and the other an undergraduate on the Orono campus, are recovering at their homes after diagnoses by their personal physicians, said Dick Young, the associate executive director of auxiliary services, on Friday. Both students live off campus, and did not take classes together, but the building housing the nursing program, Dunn Hall, is being disinfected much more often than usual to help prevent the virus from spreading, he said.

“This is not something we see on a regular basis, but we have a plan in place and are taking the appropriate steps to keep our students safe,” said Young.

The students, whom Young did not identify, will not attend their classes or labs until their symptoms subside, university officials said in a statement Friday.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viral meningitis is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spiral cord. Viral is the most common type of meningitis, often less severe than bacterial meningitis. Most people get better on their own without treatment within seven to 10 days. Initial symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, which is usually severe, so people who think they may be sick are urged to see a doctor right away.

Common symptoms of viral meningitis include fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness, nausea, irritability and vomiting.

The university is urging students to follow standard flu and cold prevention measures: wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirtsleeve, clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, and stay home when you are sick.

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