EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

February 2, 2013

Windham parents alerted to suspected meningitis case

WINDHAM — State health officials are investigating a suspected case of bacterial meningitis at Windham High School.

Principal Tom Murphy notified parents yesterday.

“A student at Windham High School is suspected of having meningococcal meningitis. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is assisting the school with this situation and helping to make recommendations,” Murphy told parents in a memo.

Chris Adamski, chief of the state’s bureau of infectious disease control, said late yesterday DHHS is still investigating.

“We are working on this today,” Adamski said. “We are in contact with individuals who may have had contact with this person.”

She was unsure whether the male student was hospitalized. Murphy told parents the school could not release his identity.

Meningitis is a serious, potentially life threatening illness.

The disease, which causes an infection of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, is rare. New Hampshire sees a dozen or fewer cases each year.

Symptoms include fever, headache, abnormal tiredness, neck pain or stiffness, and a rash with fine freckles or purple splotches.

Antibiotics are used to treat the disease. The bacteria are spread by close contact with a person’s saliva, such as sharing eating utensils, water bottles or kissing.

“Casual contact such as being in the same class with the ill person does not pose increased risk,” Murphy told parents.

It’s more likely to spread among people in the same house or close friends.

Just because students might be in the same class with the ailing student, doesn’t mean they will get sick.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean there is any risk to you,” Adamski said.

New Hampshire has had meningitis fatalities, though Adamski said it has been several years since someone died in the Granite State from the disease.

“The Department of Health and Human Services will be contacting the close contacts directly, based on information provided by the school, and will be recommending (antibiotic) preventative treatment for them,” Murphy said.

People with questions can contact DHHS during business hours at 1-800-852-3345, Ext. 4496, or, on weekends and evenings at 1-800-852-3345 or 271-5300. Ask to speak with the public health nurse.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Photos of the Week