MADISON, Wis. -

UW-Madison confirmed that a student has been hospitalized with meningococcal disease. In a news statement, the university said additional details were not made immediately available due to the student's medical privacy.

"Meningococcal disease is not highly contagious and there is no reason to believe that this case presents a health risk to the UW-Madison community, said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, executive director of University Health Services.

The bacteria are spread only through close contact with an infected person's oral or nasal secretions, such as by sharing cups and utensils, the university said. Students who were in close contact with the student have been contacted and treated with antibiotics as a precaution.

Health services said it is coordinating with officials from Public Health Madison-Dane County and will continue to closely monitor the situation, the statement noted.

Meningococcal disease most often causes meningitis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The statement said the inflammation is rare, often comes on suddenly, and can progress rapidly. It's typically treated with antibiotics but can be fatal, the university said.

Madison students have died of meningitis in the past; in January 2011, a 24-year-old man died after a brief battle with meningitis and about a year earlier, in February 2010, a 22-year-old UW exchange student from Singapore died after a weeklong battle.

For more information about meningococcal disease, visit UHS online.