A student at the University of Hartford has died of bacterial meningitis, according to university officials.
The University of Hartford sent out a letter on Saturday informing students and staff that Connecticut's Department of Public Health discovered that Patrick Chittenden, who lived off campus, died Friday from bacterial meningitis.
"On behalf of the university, I again want to offer our deepest condolences to Patrick's family and friends," said Dr. J. Lee Peters, vice president of student affairs.
The entire school community remains in shock as they mourn the death of Chittenden. Friends said he was in the school's actor training program.
"He was just a wonderful guy," said friend and UHart student Alex Domini. "Our school community is the strongest and best there is, and we're all pulling for each other."
Chittenden was from Medford, New Jersey, according to his Facebook page.
Meningitis a communicable and treatable disease spread by mucus and saliva. The university listed symptoms to look out for including high fever, severe headache, an extremely stiff neck, nausea or vomiting and a red rash.
The university is urging those who were in close contact with Chittenden and who have symptoms to immediately head to a local emergency room. Those in close contact without symptoms can receive a dose of antibiotics from the school.
The university has extended the hours at the health services center and saw about 100 students on Sunday. None had symptoms.
"I know the majority of my class is going to take that pill because we are so close," said Domini.
As friends remember and mourn Chittenden, they hope by spreading awareness about bacterial meningitis, they can help save the life of someone else.
"We honor him every day," said Domini.
The University of Hartford said all students are required to get a bacterial meningitis vaccine, so it's likely most are already protected.
More information is available on the Department of Public Health's Web site.