Single Case of Neisseria Meningococcemia Confirmed

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Today the Rhode Island Department of Health was notified of a confirmed case of Neisseria Meningococcemia in a resident of an assisted living residence in Rhode Island (resident did not develop meningitis). The resident is currently receiving medical treatment and is recovering. N. Meningococcemia is spread through saliva and respiratory droplets. In order to prevent the spread of disease among close contacts, the Health Department is recommending antibiotics for individuals who had close contact, which includes all residents and staff of the assisted living residence as well as employees of the hospital who had contact with the individual where the individual received care.

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In addition, this individual also attended the Mary Nelson funeral on January 29th at the Watson Funeral Home in East Providence. Because the patient was hugging and kissing funeral attendees, the Health Department recommends that all attendees and funeral home staff who attended the funeral receive antibiotics.

Health Department staff have already begun to call these individuals. Attendees not yet contacted are also asked to call the Health Department Information Line at 1-800-942-7434. Tonight, the Information Line will be open until 8:00 p.m. Beginning tomorrow, normal business hours will continue (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Neisseria Meningococcemia is a bacterium that can cause bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is a rare disease. Rhode Island usually sees 4 to 5 cases per year. The bacteria are spread through saliva (e.g. coughing, kissing, sharing utensils). It can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. The bacteria are not as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

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