Possible meningitis case forces school to close - WNEM TV 5

Possible meningitis case forces school to close

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Photo courtesy of Bishop Kelley Catholic School Facebook page. Photo courtesy of Bishop Kelley Catholic School Facebook page.

A possible case of meningitis has forced a Lapeer school to close its doors to students for the rest of the week.

Bishop Kelley Catholic School principal Penny Clemens said the decision was taken Thursday morning when school officials were informed that a student could have a case of meningitis.

Bishop Kelley Catholic is a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school.

Clemens told WNEM TV5 the closing was strictly precautionary as the student hasn't been diagnosed. She said the school has students in attendance with compromised immune systems and didn't want to take a chance.

Cleaning crews are going through the school to purge any possible germs.

Students will be expected back in class on Monday, Nov. 18.

According to the Meningitis Foundation of America website, "Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the lining which surrounds the brain. The disease should not be confused with encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain itself.

"Essentially, there are two distinct types of meningitis; aseptic (usually caused by viral infections) and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis, while it is comparatively rare, is by far the most dangerous and is sometimes fatal. As such, it gets the most media attention, but the Foundation is acutely aware of the effects of the more common viral meningitis. Most of the current vaccine efforts are directed toward preventing bacterial meningitis cases, since these so often lead to death or disability in survivors."

"There are not exact figures available on a month-to-month basis. In the 2004 Final Reports of Notifiable Diseases, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the CDC reported 131 cases of encephalitis meningitis, 19 cases of Hib, 1,361 cases of meningococcal disease, and 1,162 of streptococcal pneumonaie. It's important to note that not all cases of meningococcal disease or streptococcal pneumonaie progress to meningitis, but 15% of cases that do become meningitis end fatally.

Viral meningitis is much more common but it is impossible to quote accurate figures because many mild cases may not even be reported by the sufferer to his/her doctor, and testing is much less accurate in identifying the specific cause of these cases of meningitis."

"Both are spread by coughing, sneezing and kissing but they should not be regarded as either water-borne or air-borne. It is a mistake to assume that the viruses and bacteria can be blown in the wind and float in water because they CANNOT live for very long outside the human body."

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