Carly Glynn (Courtesy: Glynn family)
Friends of Carly Glynn hold candlelight vigil at her parents' Wyoming home.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (Lansing State Journal/WZZM) -- Ingham County health officials are awaiting the source of a bacterial infection believed to have killed a Michigan State University sophomore this week.
Carly Christine Glynn, 19, of Wyoming, died Thursday evening at Sparrow Hospital after she contracted what appears to be meningococcal disease, which can cause meningitis, MSU spokesman Kent Cassella said.
About 25 friends of Glynn and her family attended a candlelight vigil in Glynn's memory Friday night at her parents' home in Wyoming.
"We have been putting events on Facebook all day long, texting people, calling people, trying to put something together for her," said Haley Bishop. "She was an extremely special person, and we just all wanted to show her family how much of an impact she had on all these people."
County health officials do not yet know the exact illness, but pathology tests are being run. Confirmation is expected soon, said Renee Branch Canady, Ingham County health officer.
Glynn was living in MSU's Snyder-Phillips residence hall and was taken to Sparrow, where she died hours later, Cassella said.
Four people have been identified as being in close contact with Glynn and have been started on antibiotics to prevent infection, health department spokesman Marcus Cheatham said.
Meningitis is a swelling of brain and spinal membranes, caused in most cases by viral or bacterial infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial meningitis is the more serious form and can lead to brain damage and hearing loss, among other things.
Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light, Canady said. It is not easily transmitted, mostly through direct contact such as sharing water bottles or kissing.
"Because it can have serious effects, we certainly want people to be vigilant in this case," said Canady, adding that the exposure so far is limited.
University officials have notified students and posted a message on its website home page, Cassella said. MSU is advising students who feel ill to contact the on-campus health center or go to an emergency room if symptoms quickly progress.
MSU students are required to complete a form with their immunization history, according to its website, but they are not required to have received vaccinations. Meningococcus is among the recommended vaccines.