FINAL: Butler 74, UNC 66 – CLICK FOR RECAP

Close Contacts Of ECH Student Who Died Being Monitored

The Orange County Health Department worked closely with East Chapel Hill High School and the school district shortly after finding out a 14-year-old student at East contracted meningococcal disease and later died.

“We have given prophylactic antibiotics to 14 contacts at this point,” said Orange County Health Department Director Colleen Bridger as she addressed the media Thursday morning. “Typically it’s going to be close family members that are the most exposed.”

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Tom Forcella joined Dr. Bridger and said the student left school Tuesday after telling the school nurse he felt ill.

“The nurse advised the family to seek medical attention,” Dr. Frocella said. “He thought maybe he just wasn’t feeling well. The nurse contacted the parents and advised them to seek medical attention, and the family did go see either their doctor or a clinic.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of meningococcal disease include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), and an altered mental status (confusion). It is spread through the transmission of respiratory and throat secretions like saliva.

“Meningococcal disease is a generic term that encompasses the different types of illnesses that you can get if you are infected with the bacteria,” Dr. Bridger said. “You’re most commonly, probably, familiar with meningitis, which is when the bacteria gets into the spinal fluid and the brain of the infected individual; that would be meningitis. We believe we are dealing with a blood infection in this particular case, which is why we’ll be referring to it a little bit more generically.”

Dr. Bridger said it’s impossible to trace where the student picked up the bacteria.

She said the disease is most commonly seen in adolescents.

“I think 10-15 percent of people who are infected with a meningococcal disease will die,” Dr. Bridger says. “Another up to 50-percent will suffer life-long consequences of the disease if they do recover. So it’s a very, very serious disease. The good news is it’s very, very hard to get.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact the Orange County Health Department or your personal physician immediately.

For more information about how East Chapel Hill is handling the situation at the school, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/close-contacts-ech-student-died-monitored/

14-Year-Old East Chapel Hill Student Dies Wednesday

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokesperson Jeff Nash says a 14-year-old male student of East Chapel Hill High School died Wednesday, presumably from meningococcal disease.

Nash says at this time it has not been confirmed whether or not he had meningitis at the time of his death. He says the school worked closely with the Orange County Health Department to make sure other students are safe.

East Chapel Hill principal Eileen Tully sent a message to parents informing them of the situation. She shared a letter from health director Colleen Bridger, which included more information about the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of meningococcal disease include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), and an altered mental status (confusion). The disease is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like saliva. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact the Orange County Health Department or your personal physician immediately.

Principal Tully plans to meet with students in the morning, according to Nash, and counselors will be available for students.

The health department worked to find a list of close friends of the student and called their families Wednesday night.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/14-year-old-east-chapel-hill-student-dies-wednesday/

Student Loans Increase, Await Congress Decision

NORTH CAROLINA – On July 1, by Congress not making a decision to renew subsidies on federal student loans, they once again increased them from 3.4 percent to 6.8.

According to a report from NPR, the efforts to keep the rates from doubling on Subsidized Stafford loans—which account for roughly a quarter of all direct federal borrowing—fell apart amid partisan disagreement in the Senate before the July 4th holiday.

The change only affects new loans, not loans existing prior to the decision. Whether or not this change will be effective this coming school year is unclear; Congress could reconvene and take action on restoring the previous rates before it breaks again for the month of August.

Assistant Director for Financial Aid at UNC, Kristin Anthony, weighs in on how the change might affect UNC students.  While she is unhappy about the increase, she says the average student loan debt at UNC is already extremely low compared to the national average.

“The nationwide average of loan debt from a graduating senior ranges somewhere between $24- and $25,000, but here at Carolina, ours has always been roughly around $15,000,” says Anthony.

Anthony says she’s hopeful that Congress will soon work on legislation that would bring the interest rates down to the previous level, particularly before the coming school year in August.

The good news is that even though there are loans being made currently that are at the 6.8 percent interest rate, if in the near future Congress takes action to restore previous rates, the lower rates will be implemented on all loans made since July 1.

“We do have documentation that has come from the federal government that has indicated that whatever they do decide in the near future, that they will backdate it to July 1, 2013,” says Anthony.

As far as possibly affecting enrollment at UNC, Anthony says she’s confident the change won’t make a difference.

“I think that students may just take a greater interest in keeping their loans lower—instead of borrowing the maximum amounts they’re allowed to borrow, they may start to look at, ‘what do I actually need versus what do I want to take?’”

“I think Carolina still stays very attractive to students, especially with our cumulative debt for graduating seniors, versus others schools that they may compare that number to,” she says.

http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/student-loans-increase/