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Case of Meningitis at Madison

Madison High School was alerted last Tuesday, May 16 that a student there had contracted meningococcal meningitis. This is a form of bacterial meningitis, which is rarer and generally much more serious than viral meningitis.

The school sent a letter to parents the next day, informing them of the situation and letting them know that the Fairfax County Health Department is working with the family to identify and alert close personal contacts of the student. Other parents were told not to take preventive measures unless their child experienced the symptoms of sudden onset of fever, severe headache, vomiting, stiff neck and/or rash.

"We're not going to overreact," said Assistant Principal Mike Yohe. "Nothing really needs to be done at this point," he said. "We'd certainly look at any kid who comes into the clinic with symptoms, but we haven't had that."

As of Friday, the student had not yet returned to school.

Most cases of infection by bacteria that can cause meningitis result only in common gastrointestinal or respiratory infection. The bacteria are spread via discharges from the nose and throat of an infected person.

— Mike DiCicco