SOUTH LYON (WWJ) – Parents in one Metro Detroit community have been notified of a school case of bacterial meningitis.
South Lyon Community Schools, in partnership with the Oakland County Health Division, has made it known that a student at South Lyon East High School has contracted the disease.
Health officials said that student, who has not been named, is undergoing medical care and is no longer contagious.
Bacterial meningitis is only spread only through close contact, such as drinking out of the same bottle, or kissing — and is not an airborne illness.
“The disease is not spread through casual contact or by simply being in the same room as an infected person,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Health Division. “A person must have direct contact with an infected person’s saliva during the seven days prior to the onset of the illness.”
To reduce the spread and risk of any communicable disease, it is recommended that students and staff not share items that come in contact with another person’s saliva such as foods, drinks, lipstick/balm, or cigarettes.
The school is working with county officials to get in touch with those who may have had such close contact with the student. For all others, including those who had casual contact as would occur in most school-related activities, officials say the risk of infection is very low.
Still, parents are advised to be alert for signs of meningococcal disease. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, major symptoms may include fever, headache, rash, and a stiff neck, sometimes with aching muscles. Nausea, vomiting and other symptoms may occur.
Those who develop these symptoms are urge to see a doctor as soon as possible.
“Meningitis is a potentially serious illness that can be caused by many types of viruses or bacteria,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, chief of medical services for the Health Division. “The severity of the illness depends on the type of virus or bacteria causing it and at this time laboratory tests are still in process to identify the specific bacteria.”
Parents, students or staff members who have questions may contact Oakland County’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about bacterial meningitis, go to www.oakgov.com/health.