Balto. Co. officials track suspected case of meningitis

March 04, 1997|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

A recent case of suspected meningitis at Milford Mill Academy has prompted Baltimore County health officials to interview parents of schoolmates who had come in close contact with the ill student, health officials said yesterday.

The student, who last attended school Feb. 21, was hospitalized with symptoms consistent with meningococcal meningitis.

Doctors suspected a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, which can be found in healthy people, but in rare cases can lead to serious infections such as meningitis and septicemia.

The presence of meningitis, which can be deadly, was never confirmed, and may never be, because the student was treated with antibiotics before lab tests were completed.

But health officials stressed that no other Milford Mill students so far have come forward with symptoms, that the incubation period is nearly over, and that the disease -- if the student had it -- would only be spreadable through contacts with nose and throat fluids, such as by sharing utensils or cigarettes, or kissing.

"This is not easily spreadable through casual contact. You have to have more intimate contact," said county Health Director Michelle A. Leverett.

The suspected disease is in the same family as the meningitis that killed a student recently at Morgan State University, but is not the same strain, Leverett said.

Symptoms of meningitis include high fever, stiff neck, nausea, severe headache and a rash.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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