LI Student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

May 21, 2010 9:14:00 PM PDT
A student at Massapequa High School has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

That is more serious than viral meningitis.

The superintendent sent a letter to parents of kids who may have had close contact with or shared food or drinks with the infected student.

The 16-year-old student individual is currently in the hospital and the Nassau County Department of Health is working to identify close contacts and advise them of the need for preventive treatment.

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection of the bloodstream or meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord) caused by the meningococcus germ. The disease is spread by direct close contact with nose or throat discharges of an infected person.

Casual contact, as might occur in a regular classroom or office setting, is not usually significant enough to cause concern.

Symptoms can include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and rash and appear most often within five days after exposure, but can appear anytime between two and ten days. Individuals who think they have symptoms suggestive of the disease should contact their health care providers immediately.

Additional information on Meningococcal Disease may be found on the New York State Department of Health Website at