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Anyone exposed should seek medical treatment; vaccine is available to prevent potentially deadly  infectious disease

December 13, 2012 (San Diego) – Marco Fagoada, a 30-year-old Chula Vista resident enrolled as a graduate student in San Diego State University’s Latin American Studies program, died Monday night from meningococcal disease caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides, County Health and Human Services reports.

According to the Medical Examiner, Fagoada became ill on Sunday, December 9 and went to a clinc on December 10 with shortness of breath and a high fever. He was transported to Scripps Mercy Chula Vista emergency room, where is suffered cardiorespiratory arrest.  Despite aggressive medical intervention, he was pronounced dead soon after.

According to SDSU, Fagoada lived off campus in Chula Vista and was not employed. 

HHSA is working with SDSU officials to identify and notify students and staff who may have been exposed to the bacteria.  Fagoada may have exposed others with close or intimate contact between December 3 and Dec. 10, 2012. An email has been sent by SDSU to those who may have had contact with the student.

A vaccine is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease and is routinely recommended for children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age. To find out more information about this vaccine-preventable disease, please visit Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck and/or rash that does not blanch (pale) under pressure, and sensitivity to light. Anyone with potential exposure who develops any of these symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare provider or emergency room for an evaluation for possible meningococcal disease.        

According to the Centers for Disease Control,  having meningitis doesn't always mean you have meningococcal disease. And having meningococcal disease doesn’t necessarily mean you have meningitis. Meningococcal disease is any infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, or meningococcus. Any infection caused by that bacteria is known as meningococcal disease. One serious infection it can cause is meningococcal meningitis.  

“While meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, it is not spread through casual contact. Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the infected individual. We are working to notify all who may have been exposed to the disease.”

The bacteria can be spread through close contact, such as sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, or water bottles; kissing; smoking; and living in close quarters. Symptoms can appear two to ten days after exposure.

People who have had close contact with the patient should receive antibiotics to prevent any possible infection. Preventive antibiotics are not recommended for individuals who were not in close contact with the infected person, but they should be aware of possible symptoms and make sure they have received the recommended vaccination against the disease.

Students with questions can contact SDSU Student Health Services at (619) 594-5281 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or contact their personal healthcare provider. Information about meningococcal disease may be found at

“The SDSU community is deeply saddened by this loss,” said James Kitchen, vice president for Student Affairs at SDSU.  “The health and safety of our students is our highest priority and we are working closely with health officials to identify those who may have been exposed.”