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UW student dies after meningitis diagnosis

MADISON, Wis. - A University of Wisconsin senior hospitalized with meningococcal disease has died, according Meriter Hospital

The student is identified as 21-year-old Henry Mackaman. His family lives in St. Paul, Minn.

A CaringBridge page for Mackaman states that he went to the emergency room Saturday night with a fever, left the hospital and returned to the Meriter Hospital ER Monday with more symptoms.

Mackaman's family decided to donate his organs. An entry on his CaringBridge page said 54 people benefited from the donation.

"Henry was so loved by everyone who knew him," said Dean of Students Lori Berquam. "Many people were touched by knowing him, both in the Twin Cities and here in Madison. After spending time with his family, I know Henry would be grateful to know that his organs will benefit others."

Mackaman was an economics and English double major and was known on campus for his love of music, according to a release from University Health Services. He was the guitarist, producer, and co-founder of a Twin Cities band called Phantom Vibration. He also DJed a show on WSUM student radio.

University Health Services and the Division of Student Life are offering support to students, according to the release. Services are available weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Counseling and Consultation Services at 333 East Campus Mall. Students may also call a 24-hour UHS crisis line at 608-265-5600, option 9.

"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.

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.

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