IMAGE: Springview Elementary

A potentially deadly viral infection is now invading several Mid-Michigan schools.

Letters warning parents about the dangers of viral meningitis were sent home to schools in Genesee, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. 

The latest was just sent Thursday to Springview Elementary School in Flushing and Marshall Greene Middle School in Birch Run. 

The outbreak has many people wondering why there’ve been so many cases in such a short period of time.

"It's caused by certain viruses that are common from July through October, so it's not unusual first of all for these cases to occur,” said Dr. Gary Johnson, medical director for Genesee County Health Department.

Johnson has been monitoring the recent cases of viral meningitis but said this is no surprise in school districts with several children.

"Especially with poor hand hygiene, and respiratory spread, coughing, sneezing on each other et cetera. It's a nidus for this to occur,” Johnson said.

He said the best thing parents and teachers can do for their kids is encourage frequent handwashing, proper hygiene, and staying at home when the earliest signs of symptoms occur.

"Confusion, drowsiness, fever, irritability, stiff neck, upset stomach. So those are some of the things that could alert you to that,” Johnson said.

If you see those signs, seek proper care from your doctor before things get worse.

"The incubation period is about the same as a cold, but it's more severe, so you don't have time to wait,” Johnson said.

Another tip Johnson suggested is wiping down hard surfaces and disinfecting them before and after kids use them.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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