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Wake County Officer Has Meningitis

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RALEIGH — More than 250 people who have been around the Wake County jail, including the jailed and jailers both, have received meningitis medication as a preventive. The treatment was ordered after a detention officer was diagnosed with the disease Saturday morning.

The deputy, whose name was not released, went to Rex Hospital instead of reporting for work. He was subsequently diagnosed with bacterial spinal meningitis, a potentially fatal disease.

Dr. Obi Umesi, medical director for the sheriff's office, instructed that everyone who had significant exposure to the officer receive the medicine as a preventive.

Umesi emphasizes that, while the disease can be fatal if left untreated, there is no cause for panic. He said he does not foresee that an epidemic is in the making, nor that people who have not been treated are in trouble.

Additional testing of the deputy was performed to determine what specific type of meningitis he has. Those results may be available within the next few days.

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