Linn-Mar student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Linn-Mar student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

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MARION (KWWL) - A Linn-Mar High School student is hospitalized, after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is spread by the direct exchange of respiratory droplets such as contact with saliva, including kissing, sharing eating utensils, drinks or cigarettes.

Signs of infection include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and/or rash.

"We know the student did come to school Friday morning, complaining of a severe headache, went to the nurse's office before she went to any classes, and was sent home," said Superintendent Katie Mulholland.

It's the first case of bacterial meningitis Mulholland has seen at Linn-Mar High in her years as superintendent.

"6 to 8 weeks ago, we had a student diagnosed with viral meningitis. Far less contagious, and much easier to manage."

She says there's no cause for alarm, as the district has taken the necessary steps to prevent the sickness from spreading.

"The nurse and the nurse's associate who dealt with the student Friday morning received antibiotic treatments."

But even with early detection, Dr. Larry Helvey, emergency room physician at St. Luke's Hospital, still urges caution.

"People die from bacterial meningitis," Helvey said. Helvey says meningitis comes in two forms: bacterial and viral, the bacterial being far more deadly.

"Anybody who has a fever, bad headache, a stiff neck or a rash, has to be seen immediately. It is not something that you toy with."

He says the majority of cases are viral, and can be easily treated. But the bacterial version works quickly, and says anyone with those symptoms should visit the ER even faster.

"I would rather see you as a patient and rule out meningitis, than have you wait at home and debate whether to be seen."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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