Wednesday Dec 08 2004
Meningitis discovered at Roseville High School
By: Kimberley Horg, The Press-Tribune
The first case of meningitis at Roseville High School was found in a student who contracted the disease through the exchange of saliva. The Placer County Health Department confirmed the student had Meningococcal Menin-gitis earlier this week. Meningitis can be airborne, but this case appears to be Meningococcal Meningitis, which is a bacterial infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, which can result in death. School officials were informed Sunday evening and Monday students, teachers and staff were given the news that a fellow student has the illness. Letters drafted by the school nurse were sent home to better inform students and their parents of the disease, symptoms and precautions to follow to cut down on the possible threat of spreading. Because this form of the disease is transmitted through saliva, activities that involve sharing food, drinks, lipstick, cigarettes and kissing are to be avoided. Symptoms include fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck. "To my knowledge, there has never been a case of meningitis at Roseville High," said John Montgomery, Roseville principal. "I think we have done a good job of providing information to students and their parents." Chris Traina, whose daughter Leah is a Roseville High freshman, says he is concerned about the recent news. If he hears of more cases occurring, he plans to have his daughter vaccinated. "As a parent, I have to be cautious to make sure that my daughter is aware of what is going on," Traina said. "I talked to her and looked the letter over with her to make sure that she is not sharing food or drinks with her friends.
The school has done a good job of getting the information out and notifying us."
The scare has lead to the school temporarily utilizing the services of an extra nurse on campus from Oakmont High to answer concerns of students and parents. At this point there are no vaccinations being issued.
The director of pupil personnel services for Roseville Joint Union High School District, Larry Brubaker, said in the past five years he has not seen a single positive identification of the disease.
He says the district is working directly with PCHD so parents can have the same information it receives.
"The county is in charge of the medical part and our goal is to let people know what is going on." Brubaker said. "Montgomery has done a wonderful job to make sure the kids are protected."
The health department is focusing their concern on the individuals who have had intimate contact with the child. PCHD has contacted those individuals and says no one else has been identified with the disease.
"We are taking precautions, but our thoughts are with the family," Montgomery said. "Our thoughts are with them all the time."
The student has not been identified because the family is asking for their privacy during this difficult time.
The district and health department is asking anyone who is displaying symptoms of the disease to contact the Communicable Disease Control Program at (530) 889-7141.
Kimberly Horg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.