Phoenix student speaks out about surviving meningitis disease outbreak
PHOENIX — After being hospitalized from a long battle with the deadly Meningococcal disease during his freshman year of college, Phoenix native Bradley Sheffield is finally ready to return to class.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Sheffield became ill in late January as a freshman at Santa Clara University in California, coming down with symptoms that Sheffield described as like a “bad flu,” including cold sweats and vomiting.
Sheffield said in an interview with the Mercury News that he is now starting to recall memories from that period in January. During the two weeks that he was hospitalized, Sheffield lost 30 pounds.
“You don’t think something like this is going to happen to you,” he said. “It’s a miracle there’s not more damage — and a miracle that I recovered so fast.”
Sheffield’s illness sparked a week-long outbreak at the university, causing widespread panic as “thousands” of students and faculty members alike lined up to receive emergency vaccinations. Two others students at the university were also hospitalized with the disease.
Meningococcal disease is a rare and severe bacterial infection that can affect the lining of the brain and spinal cord and bloodstream, according to the Centers of Disease Control. If not treated quickly, it could lead to loss of limbs, deafness, brain damage or even death.
The disease is easily spread by person-to-person through saliva or spit during actions such as coughing or kissing. A CBS affiliate reported the disease spread through a fraternity in the university that Sheffield was pledging for.