Alexander Philip Gedicks, a Wake Forest University freshman from Orem, Utah, died after a sudden illness Thursday night at The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
The student appears to have died of a bacterial infection, presumably meningococcemia. University officials are awaiting autopsy results for a more definite cause of death.
The student’s death was announced to the university community today through broadcast voice mail and e-mail messages. A memorandum was also circulated to students living in campus residence halls, as well as to all academic and administrative departments. The memorandum explains that meningococcemia is an infection of the blood stream caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. The same bacteria can cause other illnesses, including meningitis, pneumonia or pharyngitis (sore throat).
In its communications with students, the university has encouraged anyone who has close contact with the student to come to the Student Health Service to receive a preventative antibiotic. The memorandum noted that close contact means:
A number of students did visit Student Health Service today to receive the antibiotic, according to Student Health Service staff.