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Second grader in Lebanon diagnosed with meningococcal disease

Public health officials are looking to identify others who have been in close contact with the child.

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 11:04 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 5:28 PM

LEBANON, Ore. -- The Linn County Health Department said a second grader in Lebanon has been diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis.

In a letter sent home to parents, Dr. William Muth said public health officials are working to identify students and staff who have had close contact with the student at Green Acres Elementary School.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include sudden onset of: 

  • high fever
  • headache
  • exhaustion
  • nausea
  • rash
  • stiff neck
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

 

Anyone displaying these symptoms should seek medical care right away, as the disease can progress rapidly.

The Oregon Health Authority has Meningococcal disease fact sheets available in multiple languages:

They said meningococcal disease is not highly contagious but students and staff who had direct, close contact with the sick child for at least four hours between Jan. 09, 2018 and Jan. 12, 2018 are at higher risk and should get antibiotics to prevent getting the disease.

Health officials will call the parents of the identified students and any staff who may have had significant exposure and recommend they take preventative antibiotics. They said other classmates do not require medication because they're not considered close contacts and their risk remains the same as the general population.

Muth said meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium that lives in the noses and throats of 5 percent to 10 percent of the population. It causes serious disease only if it enters the bloodstream and spreads through the body. Meningococcal meningitis occurs when the bacteria causes inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Although the risk to other students is quite low, parents are advised to be alert for signs of meningococcal disease, including high fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and/or a rash. If parents see these symptoms in their child, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Those who are treated promptly with antibiotics usually do well.

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