Meningitis Case Grabs Attention of Local Health Officials

by Mark Bullion on April 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

The death of a one-year-old Morgan County boy from a probable case of bacterial meningitis and a second probable case involving a one-year-old Morgan County girl has grabbed the attention of health officials.

Morgan County Health Department officials were not available for a TV interview to talk about the issue. They issued a press release instead. So we spoke with Muskingum County Health Department officials about the illness. Nursing Director Carol Howdyshell says bacterial meningitis is a respiratory infection that can be highly contagious, but preventable.

"Good hand washing, good cleaning techniques around the home, if you have little ones, it’s getting the toys clean, watching the sharing, when you get sick, well then that’s not the time to go kissing someone, that’s another way to spread it," said Howdyshell.

Symptoms of meningitis include fever, stiff neck, headache, upset stomach as well as vomiting. Howdyshell says these symptoms can often times be confused with the flu, but there is one difference to look out for.

"Sometimes with the flu, you just feel bad, it’s the whole body, aches and the whole body, with meningitis, it’s more the head and neck so it’s more focused," said Howdyshell

Howdyshell says if symptoms persist, to seek medical attention right away.

A spokesman from the Ohio Department of Health says information about the case has been forwarded from Children’s Hospital in Columbus to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta to see if the two cases are linked.