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(Placerville, CA) - The El Dorado Health and Human Services Agency, Public Health Division, has received a number of reports of viral meningitis infection in the County over the past two weeks. Regionally, cases have also been identified in Susanville, California and Washoe County, Nevada. As of November 2, 2017, a total number of four confirmed cases of viral meningitis have been identified at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs and one confirmed case has been identified at El Dorado High School in Placerville. The school district has notified parents of the situation and extra cleaning has been done at the schools. Public Health is working closely with school staff and has notified county healthcare providers.
According to Heather Orchard, nursing supervisor with the Public Health Division, viral meningitis is relatively common and less severe than bacterial meningitis. Most individuals fully recover on their own without treatment or with minimal supportive care such as rest, fluids and antipyretics within a week.
Best practices to prevent the spread of viral meningitis are good hygiene (hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes), not sharing drinks or water bottles, as well as keeping ill children home and seeking medical attention if signs and symptoms worsen.
Early meningitis can feel like the flu so it is important for children or adults experiencing sudden onset of high-fever, severe headache that seems different from normal, stiff neck or sensitivity to light be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Symptoms in newborns and infants can include high fever, constant crying or excessive sleepiness and irritability as well as stiffness of body and neck. Viral meningitis can be more severe in children younger than one month old and individuals with weakened immune systems.
In most cases, there is no specific treatment for viral meningitis. Most individuals completely recover on their own within 7 to 10 days. Antibiotics are not used and would be ineffectual in treating the viral form of meningitis.
The following can help prevent the spread of viral meningitis:
Where cases of viral meningitis have been identified, El Dorado County Public Health recommends cleaning of communal environments/surfaces (playground equipment, bathrooms, athletic equipment, congregate meal tables or other self-serving food surfaces etc.) with a bleach solution (1/2 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water) or a disinfectant appropriate for the application, proven to be effective, against viral meningitis.
For more information visit www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html or call the Public Health Division's Communicable Disease Unit at (530) 621-6320.
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