SAN DIEGO — A staff member at Porter Elementary School has an infection caused by meningococcal bacteria, making that person the third case of the illness reported in San Diego County this year, county health officials said Friday.
The staff member was last at the school March 15th, and is being treated at a hospital, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Officials said they had notified those who had been in close contact with the infected individual, none of whom were from the school.
“The risk to individuals who are not in direct contact with the infected individual is minimal,” county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. “Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the person infected.”
The bacteria is spread through contact, such as sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, or water bottles. It also can be spread by kissing and living in close quarters.
County health officials said people who had close contact with the infected individual should receive preventative antibiotics, but they are not recommended for those who were not in close contact.
They should, however, be aware of possible symptoms including fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck and a rash that does not blanch under pressure, and make sure they have received the recommended vaccination against the disease, HHSA officials said.
The time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms can be between 2 to 10 days.
HHSA officials said they were working with federal, state and Baja California health officials to determine if local cases were linked to the 18 cases diagnosed in Tijuana since January 4th, including six deaths.
The Porter Elementary School staff member was the third person diagnosed with the disease locally this year, according to the HHSA.
A 39-year-old San Diego County man, who had not traveled to Tijuana, died of meningococcal disease last week. A one-year-old was hospitalized with the illness last month, but survived.
Since 2005, the number of cases of meningococcal disease each year in San Diego County ranged from 4 to 14.