Massachusetts Middle School Teacher Hospitalized with Meningitis

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Besides being Cyber Monday, today is also the first day of school after the Thanksgiving holiday. Students at Galvin Middle School in Wakefield, Massachusetts will be returning to a school where one of their teachers was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

The teacher had taken a sick day Wednesday. She quickly developed symptoms and was admitted to the hospital with bacterial meningitis. She is reported to still be in intensive care.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified Gavin Middle School of the diagnosis. All staff and faculty were then notified. The parents of students have been notified. The middle school has been cleaned and sanitized. The school reports 39 students may have been exposed to the potentially deadly disease and have been advised to take antibiotic medication as a precaution.

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Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment.

Bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, or death. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.

A high fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Symptoms generally include vomiting, fever, skin rash, moderate to severe headache, lethargy and mental confusion.

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Source
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Meningitis Fact Sheet

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