2015-09-21 / Front Page

RSU 57 reports viral meningitis

Senior Staff Writer

WATERBORO — One Massabesic High School student has a confirmed case of viral meningitis and another student is being treated, but as of this morning does not have a confirmed diagnosis.

That is the word from Superintendent of Schools John A. Davis, in a letter to parents Saturday.

“While the Maine Center for Disease Control stresses that there is no need for major concern for our students and staff, I do want to alert you as there are precautions we all can take to reduce our exposure,” Davis wrote.

The confirmation comes several days after Maine School Administrative District 60 announced an elementary school student and a middle school student had contracted the disease.

Viral meningitis is not reportable to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Maine DHHS public health information officer John A. Martins, so the agency has no data on the number of active cases in Maine.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meningitis is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis, and is often less severe than other forms of the disease.

Symptoms in adults include fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, sleepiness or trouble waking from sleep, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy.

Symptoms in infants include fever, irritability, poor eating, sleepiness or trouble waking from sleep and lethargy, according to the Maine CDC.

The agency reported that transmission of the virus varies, but can include direct contact with someone who has it or through bites from an infected mosquito. They advised anyone with symptoms should see their prima- ry care provider to confirm viral meningitis.

To help prevent viral meningitis and other maladies, the Maine CDC advises folks to wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after a bathroom visit or coughing or blowing their nose; to avoid touching their face with unwashed hands; avoid kissing, hugging or sharing cups or eating utensils with anyone who is sick; to cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, and to clean and disinfect surfaces like toys and doorknobs and if you think you have it, stay home.

In the letter, Davis said there was no information as to how the student contracted the disease.

No cases have been reported in Sanford, and School Superintendent David Theoharides, in his weekly report, said school nurses would be monitoring the situation in RSU 57 and would take all precautions recommended by the CDC to minimize exposure.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282- 1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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