The Barton County Health Department has been notified of a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumococcal meningitis is fairly rare (less than one case per 100,000 people each year).
“We are saddened that we have lost a member of our community to such a rare illness,” Barton County Health Department Administrator Shelly Schneider said.
Meningitis is not spread by casual contact, such as eating and drinking after a person with meningitis, or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been and is not as contagious as viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
Close contacts of a person with pneumococcal meningitis do not need preventative antibiotics and there is no public health threat to the community because the bacteria is not easily spread.
Bacteria that enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord cause acute bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is the infection of the fluid around the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain, and can be caused by different types of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Symptoms can range from high fever, headache, stiff neck, and sensitivity to light to more severe symptoms such as confusion or seizures.
Any person concerned about his or her risk of exposure and/or any symptoms, should contact their primary care provider.
For more information about pneumococcal meningitis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html or http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/index.html.