April 28, 2016 1:20 p.m.
A student at Winchester Elementary School is being treated for a possible case of meningococcal disease.
Information from the Douglas Public Health network supplied by the Roseburg School District says that local health officials are following up on the case. In a letter sent to parents at the school, County Public Health Officer Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer says the disease is not highly contagious but those in close contact with a person having it are at higher risk and should get antibiotics to prevent the disease.
Dannenhoffer says that local public health officials are required to investigate each case and recommend antibiotics as needed. Douglas Public Health is working with the school to identify those students and staff that have had close face-to-face contact. Dannenhoffer says that means people who were in the same room or had close contact with the ill child for at least four hours between April 16th and April 23rd. That means all students in the affected child’s classroom should be considered as contacts.
The letter to parents says that students in other classrooms usually don’t require medication because they are not considered close contacts.
Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium that lives in the noses and throats of five to ten percent of the population. It causes serious disease only if it enters the blood stream and spreads through the body. Meningococcal meningitis occurs when the bacteria causes inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer says that although the risk to other students is quite low, parents are advised to be alert for signs of meningococcal disease. Those include but are not limited to high fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and/or a rash. If parents see these symptoms in their child they should contact their health care provider immediately. Those treated with antibiotics usually do well, according to Dr. Dannenhoffer.
The letter from the Douglas Public Health Network was sent to parents of students at Winchester Elementary on Tuesday.