Student diagnosed with meningococcal disease

Health

SAN DIEGO — An elementary school student has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said Friday.

The child, who was not publicly identified, is a student at Nazareth School San Diego, a private Catholic school in the Grantville neighborhood that teaches preschool through eighth grade.

Health officials said the patient was healthy before the diagnosis and is currently being treated at a local hospital.

The bacterial disease only affects those in close contact with diagnosed patients, health officials said. According to the HHSA, officials were collaborating with the school to identify anyone who might have been exposed.

“While meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, it is not spread through casual contact,” Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., said. “Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal.”

Symptoms associated with the disease include fever, headache, stiff neck, rash and a sensitivity to noise or light. Though some people can come down with meningococcal disease without becoming symptomatic, it can develop into a serious or deadly disease — commonly in the form of meningitis — in others.

County health officials warned residents to remain vigilant for these symptoms and contact a health professional if any develop.

The HHSA said meningococcal disease most commonly spreads through close contact with an infected person, which can include sharing utensils, smoking equipment, drinking glasses and more. Health officials warned residents to avoid sharing these kinds of objects to prevent germs from spreading.

This is the first meningococcal disease case confirmed in San Diego in 2020. Eight local cases were confirmed in 2019.

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