WORCESTER (CBS/AP) – A New Hampshire college says one of its students died of bacterial meningitis at a Worcester hospital.

Franklin Pierce University says Benjamin Plante of Ashby was a sophomore there.  He died Tuesday night.

His father, Steven, tells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that his son complained of flu-like symptoms over the weekend.

On Tuesday, his symptoms got worse, and he said he was feeling the worst pain of his life.  His parents called 911.

A spokeswoman says the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is investigating with the New Hampshire Department of Public Health.

“The university was saddened to learn that a male commuter student from Massachusetts had passed away,” Franklin Pierce University said in a statement.

“The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is assisting the university with this situation and helping to make recommendations. The entire Franklin Pierce community offers our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this young man.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

It spreads through throat and respiratory secretions, not through casual contact.

Bacterial meningitis is the more dangerous type of the illness. Viral meningitis is often curable without treatment.

Symptoms include headache, fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sleepiness.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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