Kittitas County Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bacterial meningitis laboratory confirmed in two individuals
Kittitas County, WA - 07/11/2012 - The Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) has received laboratory confirmation of bacterial meningitis in the two cases being investigated. Both patients are in stable condition and are currently recovering from the infection.
The laboratory results indicated that the two individuals were infected with a strain of Neisseria meningitidis group B. Current meningococcal vaccines do not protect against this type of meningitis. KCPHD staff has contacted all potential close contacts of the patients to assess for exposure and symptoms. At this time, no other individuals have become infected; however several have been given preventative antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection.
Bacterial meningitis is usually severe and can cause serious complications such as brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, or death. There are about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis per year in the United States, including 500 deaths.
Bacterial meningitis is a contagious disease which can be spread through the exchange of respiratory or throat secretions. However, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. Although the meningococcal vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of meningitis, the most effective way to protect against certain types of bacterial meningitis is to complete the recommended vaccine schedule (see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for vaccination schedules http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html.) There are vaccines for three types of bacteria that can cause meningitis: Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus), Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The vaccine is recommended for children age eleven and older and adults in high risk settings. In addition, good hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of meningitis such as washing hands and covering your cough.
Signs and symptoms of the disease typically include a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and altered mental status (confusion). Symptoms can appear quickly or over several days, typically within 3-7 days after exposure. Risk factors that can increase the risk for bacterial meningitis include age less than one month, living in a community setting such as a dormitory, and certain medical conditions.
If you suspect you or a family member may have meningitis, please contact your primary care provider.
Read the full press release:7.11.12 meningitis media release 43 KB
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Contact (media only): Robin Read, 509-962-7515, firstname.lastname@example.org