Jan. 19, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - A 20-year-old University of California, Berkeley women's basketball player died Monday morning (Jan. 19) apparently of bacterial meningitis. Doctors say final cause of death is pending further tests.
Alisa Marie Lewis, a junior from Spokane, Wash., died at Kaiser Medical Center, Oakland. She was taken to the emergency room early in the morning complaining of a severe headache, rash and flu-like symptoms.
"Our hearts goes out to Alisa's family following this horrible, devastating news," said women's basketball head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "Alisa was one of the nicest, hardest working players I've had the opportunity to coach. We're all in a complete state of shock."
Lewis earned a scholarship to Cal after a successful high school career at Fairfield High School in Northern California. In her senior year, her family moved to Spokane, Wash. She joined the Cal team in 2001, and was majoring in social welfare. Lewis lived in an off-campus apartment.
Team members were informed of Lewis' death at a meeting at Haas Pavilion today. University health officials met with the team and coaching staff, providing health information and counseling. They emphasized that bacterial meningitis is rare and not spread through casual contact.
Following established public health procedures, university officials alerted city and county public health authorities.
"Due to on-going close contact, we felt it was appropriate to offer a single-dose antibiotic to team members and some staff as a precaution," said Dr. Peter Dietrich, medical director of the University Health Service.
A University Health Services' website (http://uhs.Berkeley.edu) provides detailed information on the signs, symptoms and treatment of meningitis. Common early symptoms of bacterial, or meningococcal, meningitis include fever, severe sudden headache accompanied by mental changes such as malaise or lethargy, and neck stiffness. It can also be accompanied by a rash, mainly on the arms and legs. Any person with those symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.