Local News

Cumberland County Student Diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis

Posted February 28, 2000

— Attendance is normal Wednesday at a Cumberland County middle school where a student was diagnosed withbacterial meningitis.

The county health department says it appears to be an isolated case and not an outbreak. There have been no new cases reported since this student's condition came to light.

The child is a student atSouth View Middle Schoolin Hope Mills.

Doctors from the Cumberland County Health Department met with students and their parents at the school Tuesday evening to explain the dangers of bacterial meningitis.

"There is no way you can keep parents from being fearful," says Jim Surles, principal of South View Middle School. "These are their children and they're really concerned about them, but we are also."

Students and parents were told that some other students may have been infected, specifically people who had direct exposure with the eighth-grader, whether it was through sharing kisses, eating utensils or toothbrushes.

"I feel bad for her because it can harm a body, and I wouldn't want it happening to me," says Tamecia Ray, a student at the school.

Some parents say they felt at ease after the meeting.

"Since I've came and heard what it was about, I'm pretty satisfied with hearing what the doctor said," Sharisse Ray, a parent. "I'm fine with it now."

Anyone having close contact with a person infected with bacterial meningitis has a slightly increased risk of developing the same infection. Their symptoms may include fever, headache, stiff neck and vomiting.

Bacterial meningitis can kill someone within hours, but most people see the symptoms within 24 hours of exposure.

The health department is urging people who have been in close contact with the child to take an antibiotic as a precaution. Those people have been notified and may include family members and some classmates.

The health department will also provide the medication free of charge to close contacts, or you can contact your primary healthcare provider to receive the medication.


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