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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The campus of Texas A&M University is on alert after a student was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

Nicolis Williams is hospitalized, but his condition has not been released.

“Nico is a very sweet and loving young man.  He always greets you with a smile that resonates  from his heart,” his family said.  ” He brings joy to everyone he meets without having to say a word.  His family asks for your continued prayers.”

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. The viral version is less serious. But bacterial meningitis can be deadly.

About 50 people have stopped by the campus health center over the past few days, university officials said.

The symptoms are similar to the flu early on, but can quickly progress.

Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, the director of student health services, said the university was tracking down the student’s classmates and professors. People who may have been exposed to the illness will be given free antibiotics, she said.

Students who live on campus are required to have the vaccine. But those who live off-campus are not.

“That’s very dangerous, “ said Anna Dragsbaek, a lawyer with The Immunization Partnership, which is based in Houston. The group is trying to amend state law to change that.

This is A&M’s second case of bacterial meningitis this academic year.

“It’s pretty scary because I hear it’s very contagious,” said Brittany Trask, a senior engineering student from Conroe. “And you never know who could be carrying it.”