By News-Register staff • 

Meningitis testing inconclusive

State health officials have given up on efforts to conclusively identify the cause of a suspected meningitis case that landed a Linfield College student in intensive care for a time last week.

Tom Eversole of Yamhill County Public Health said tests conducted by a state laboratory "did not allow certainty of diagnosis ... (tests) can't prove or rule out" meningitis." He said no further testing is being contemplated.

It's not unusual for lab results to be inconclusive, Eversole said, "A variety of factors" affect lab tests, such as the presence of antibiotics when a sample was taken.

The symptoms suffered by junior economics and education major Cody Oden, now back home and doing fine, were consistent with meningitis, Eversole said. But he said the term covers any type of inflammation of the brain, and there are a range of possible causes, viral as well as bacterial.

Oden, a wide receiver on the football team, fell ill over the April 9-10 weekend, following conclusion of the team's spring drills.

He sought help at the Willamette Valley Medical Center emergency room the morning of April 11. Doctors there had him airlifted to the intensive care unit at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

A public health alert was issued at the college, and college and county officials collaborated on a set of clinics. The aim was to screen members of the college community for signs of the potentially fatal disease and administer antibiotic treatment as warranted.

Even though the tests were inconclusive and no new cases have surfaced, Eversole advised residents of the area to remain vigilent. He recommended keeping immunizations up to date' taking basic health precautions such as washing hands and refraining from sharing cigarettes or saliva; and remaining alert for symptoms, which include headache, fever, chills, fatigue and nausea.

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