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West Chester University Student Dies After Bacterial Meningitis Diagnosis

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By Steve Beck, Jericka Duncan

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — A West Chester University student who contracted bacterial meningitis has died, the university said Thursday.

In a letter addressed to the West Chester University Community released Thursday morning, school officials said that 20-year-old Sean Casey had passed away.

The statement said that Casey was in his third year of studies at West Chester in the College of Visual & Performing Arts.

The statement went on to say that Casey was also “quite active in campus life as a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Musical Fraternity, Honors Student Association, and was a well-respected student leader working in the Sykes Union Building as a Student Director.”

“He was always the kind of guy who would yell your name and come up to you and give you a big hug,” says Kat Stahl, a friend of Casey.

(Credit: Jericka Duncan)

(Credit: Jericka Duncan)

At the entrance where Casey worked, there’s a small tribute of pictures and notes. It’s one way to show people walking by, how much the 20-year-old will be missed and remembered.

Shortly after arriving at Chester County Hospital, health officials confirmed Tuesday morning that Casey had bacterial meningitis. By Wednesday night, word spread on campus that Casey had died.

“People who had contact with him have been monitored,” says Betsy Walls, Chester County Bureau Director of Personal Health Services.

She says bacterial meningitis is not considered to be highly contagious and person-to-person transmission is possible from direct saliva contact. Symptoms are an abrupt onset of chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting and rash.

School officials said counselors will be at the school to assist any students or friends following Casey’s passing.

The statement said “we extend our deepest condolences to the Casey family and all of Sean’s friends and classmates during this very difficult time.”

Dozens of students gathered inside the university’s student center Thursday evening. At the entrance officials erected a few boards so students could post pictures of Casey. The boards were also covered with index cards filled with RIP messages and stories about how Casey impacted people’s lives.

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