What are the warning signs?
A small town in Oklahoma has been hit hard: Two kids, age 7 and 8, have died of bacterial meningitis. Now the 7-year-old's mother is warning other moms in hopes of sparing another mother from the pain her family is going through.
Angela Thomas thought her child had the flu. By the time realized it was something much more serious, it was too late for little Andrew.
Four other students in the Oologah, OK elementary school have become ill with symptoms. Those four students remain in the hospital.
The Oklahoma Health Department has issued the following advice for parents:
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. Many healthy people carry meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without any symptoms. Usually, the bacteria stay in the nose and throat for a few days and will then disappear. The bacteria are spread from person-to-person by direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat. The reason that the organism disappears in some people and produces illness in others is not clearly understood but is probably related to individual susceptibility.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease may appear two to 10 days after infection, but usually appear within three to four days. People ill with meningococcal septicemia may have fever, nausea, vomiting, and a rash. People that are ill with meningitis will have fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. It is important to seek care from a physician as soon as possible if these symptoms appear.
Our hearts go out to the family of 7-year-old Andrew and the 8-year-old girl who've died, and we hope the other students don't contract this deadly disease.