Game canceled due to concern about meningitis Broadneck pupil's brother is diagnosed with disease

March 23, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Broadneck High School canceled Friday's lacrosse game because the older brother of a player has been diagnosed with viral meningitis, a contagious disease that can be fatal.

Principal Linda B. Blackman sent a note home with students Friday, advising parents that the 1996 Broadneck graduate had fallen ill and that administrators were in contact with the county Health Department and other public health officials.

"All parties believe that there is no reason for alarm regarding this disease being contracted by our students or staff as a result of this graduate's illness," Blackman wrote. She directed parents to call doctors if they had more concerns.

The younger brother is not ill, said Jane Doyle, Anne Arundel County schools spokeswoman. Nevertheless, the lacrosse game was canceled.

"There was some fear of contagion on the kids' part and on the faculty's," she said.

The players, who know the family, were upset.

Doyle said the hospitalized youth is a student at Loyola College, where another student was diagnosed with the illness last month. The more recent patient became sick Thursday night and was hospitalized at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Earlier this month, state health officials warned Maryland residents to be on the alert for symptoms of meningitis and related illnesses that can kill.

The signs -- high fever, severe headache, stiff neck and vomiting -- are among the most common symptoms of various illnesses. But together with a rash of tiny dots that become bruises, they constitute a much more serious condition.

In January and February, 15 cases of meningococcal disease were reported statewide, compared with 11 during the same period last year. Two of the patients, including a student at Morgan State University, died.

Meningitis results when the membranes covering the brain become infected and inflamed. It can be attributed to infections by a number of viruses, bacteria and fungi, physicians say.

A student from Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore County also was believed to have had the disease. But because the student was given antibiotics before a test was done, her diagnosis was unclear.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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