Just the word meningitis can cause a great deal of alarm to parents, and Kimberley parents were concerned when they were notified by Selkirk Secondary this week that two students had been seen at East Kootenay Regional Hospital for symptoms associated with meningitis.
Parents were told that nothing had been confirmed but if your child has symptoms, you should consult your doctor or go to the Emergency Room for treatment.
Dr. Karin Goodison, medical health office with Interior Health confirmed that the agency is aware of recent concerns about reports of meningitis cases in Kimberley, but wants to reassure everyone that there are no confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis.
“While we cannot speak about individual patients, we can say that we have no confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis at this time,” Goodison said. “Further testing may be done on individual patients to look for other organisms, such as viruses, that may also cause meningitis symptoms.
“We recognize that the mention of meningitis has caused concern for parents, students, the school and the community, and Interior Health is closely monitoring this situation.
“At this time, we do not have concerns about a risk to the broader student or general population.”
Interior Health advises that covering coughs and sneezes, and good handwashing are important in the prevention of all viral and bacterial illnesses.
There are two main types of meningitis:
Viral meningitis is fairly common. It usually doesn’t cause serious illness. In severe cases, it can cause prolonged fever and seizures. Most people with viral meningitis usually start getting better within three days of feeling sick, and they recover within two weeks.
Bacterial meningitis isn’t as common, but can be very serious. It needs to be treated right away to prevent possible brain damage and death.
Meningitis may be spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close contact.
The most common symptoms of meningitis among teens and young adults are:
• A stiff and painful neck, especially when you try to touch your chin to your chest.
• Trouble staying awake.
Anyone with concerns should contact their family physician or visit the nearest emergency department.
More information is available at the https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/aa34518