Snow Hill elementary teacher treated for bacterial meningitis
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department has received a report that a teacher at Snow Hill Elementary School is being treated for bacterial meningitis.
The health department worked with the teacher and school officials to notify potential contacts and to provide antibiotic treatment to those who may have been exposed.
As of Friday, May 1, all persons with close and prolonged contact had been identified and antibiotic treatments will be given.
Bacterial meningitis is spread by close and prolonged exposure to an infected person. “Close contact means within coughing or sneezing distance for more than a few hours,” said Valerie A. Boaz, MD, Health Officer at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. Antibiotics are not needed for persons who did not have direct and prolonged exposure to this teacher.
“The chances of catching bacterial meningitis from an infected person are low. However, because of the potential seriousness of this illness, we want to take every precautionary step we can by providing protective treatment to all close contacts,” said Dr. Boaz.
Bacterial meningitis can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord or a serious blood infection. Common symptoms include: onset of fever, intense headache, nausea and often vomiting, stiff neck, and frequently rash. Any of these symptoms can develop 1-10 days after being exposed. This illness is treatable with antibiotics.
Persons who need further information regarding meningitis should call the Health Department at 209-8190, Monday-Friday, 8AM-4PM. On the weekends and after hours, please call 209-8010 to reach the nurse on-call.