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Naperville Student Contracts Viral Meningitis

Meningitis

(Credit: CBS)

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – Some parents and students in Naperville are concerned after a student was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

In a letter sent to parents, Naperville North High School Principal Kevin Pobst said the DuPage County Health Department stressed that the student’s illness is not bacterial meningococcal meningitis, which is typically far more severe. Pobst says follow-up treatment is not recommended for other students at Naperville North.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can have a viral or a bacterial cause.

Meningitis is not highly contagious, school officials said. Both viral and bacterial meningitis are transmitted from person to person through direct contact with nose or throat secretions. In addition, healthy people can have these bacteria in their throats and spread them to others.

An infected person can transmit the disease by coughing or sneezing directly in the face of others, kissing a person on the mouth or sharing a glass or cup.

Meningitis usually starts with sudden fever, headache and stiff neck, school officials said. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, aversion to bright light, confusion and sleepiness.

Most people are not susceptible to meningitis because they have had prior exposure to the particular strain of viral or bacterial infection and have become immune, according to district officials.

Pobst’s letter recommended families follow good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly following exposure to respiratory secretions; not sharing cigarettes, straws, cups, glasses or eating utensils; covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; and promptly disposing of used tissues.

Once medical documentation is received by the school district indicating there is no further risk, the student will be allowed to return to classes.

The Naperville Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire