Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Aug. 12

Health officials report Flagstaff meningitis case

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Coconino County Health Department (CCHD) received a report of a spinal meningitis case from an infected woman who was traveling on a Greyhound bus from New Orleans through Albuquerque. She arrived in Flagstaff at 1:20 p.m. on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 27 and was transported directly from the bus station to Flagstaff Medical Center, where she is currently receiving treatment.

The CCHD is attempting to notify potentially exposed persons. Anyone who was traveling on the bus with the ill passenger or who had close contact with the individual in the bus terminal should contact either his or her health care provider or the CCHD at (928) 679-7222, or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272 as soon as possible.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis can be very serious. People are given precautionary antibiotics to prevent it if they have had close contact with a case.

While meningitis is a contagious disease, it is not spread through casual contact. The meningococcal bacteria can be spread from person-to-person by direct contact with an infected person's saliva through sharing of personal items, such as drinking glasses, utensils, smoking materials, kissing, and possibly through shared food. The bacteria that can cause meningitis are carried in the upper back part of the throat of an infected person and are spread usually by direct contact with secretions from the throat and nose.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include: sudden onset of fever, headache, neck pain or stiffness, vomiting, and irritability. For this reason, if any person displays symptoms of possible meningitis, he or she should receive medical care immediately.

These are some precautions that can be taken:

• Proper hand washing is essential before handling or eating foods, after using the bathroom, assisting a child in the bathroom, or changing a diaper.

• Do not share eating utensils, cups, or straws.

• To prevent against several types of bacterial meningitis, it is highly recommended that children 11 years or older receive a vaccine against meningitis.

• Closely observe children for any possible early signs of illness.

• Immediately refer to a physician any child or adult who develops fever, headache, rashes, spots, unusual behavior, or other symptoms of concern.

For more information, call the CCHD at (928) 679-7272 or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272.

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