UPDATE: Up to 20 people offered antibiotics after LCCVI student diagnosed with meningitis


Officials at LCCVI are taking precautions and are vowing to do everything they can to keep students safe after a teen was diagnosed with meningitis.
Director of Education Jim Costello says Lambton Public Health has confirmed one student was found to have bacterial meningitis late yesterday afternoon. Officials say the young man, believed to be in Grade 10, is being treated in hospital. While his condition is serious, public health officials say he is doing well.
First thing this morning, students at the high school were asked to text message their parents saying a student was being treated for the disease which can cause death and that Lambton Public Health officials were on site talking to close friends of the student.
Costello says public health provided the text message for students in an attempt to be proactive and ease any parental concerns.”By the time 2:30 or three o’clock rolls around, there would be a sense of worry,” he says “so were trying ease that worry.”
By 11am, the school had posted a letter on its website stating “Lambton Public Health is investigating a meningitis infection in a student in your child’s school. Antibiotics are recommended for close contacts of this student. Close contacts are people who may have exchanged saliva (drinking from the same cup, sharing utensils, etc.) with the student and people who live in the same household.
“At this time we do not believe that your child is a close contact. Since the risk to your child of receiving antibiotics may be greater than the potential benefits, Lambton Public Health does not recommend prophylaxis for your child.”
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade says students in the young man’s class have been interviewed up to 20 people have been offered prophylaxis, an antibiotic which within 24 hours fights the bacterial meningitis.
Costello says the school has been working with public health, interviewing the students and providing advice on how to keep the rest of the student body safe.
“We can take a lot of precautions around cleaning, and in this situation we can ramp up with that,” he says adding extra care can be taken in cleaning bathrooms and the cafeteria. “We can also take extra precaution around handwashing.”
Costello added the school will bring in extra cleaning staff if necessary.
Ranade says that won’t be necessary at this time, since the bacterial meningitis is spread through close contact.
“We’re fairly confident we’ve got all the people we need to get,” says Ranade. “Having said that, we’re on heightened alert. We’ve notified all health care providers to be on a little bit of a lookout for symptoms but we think we have the bases covered.”
A fact sheet released by the school says the bacteria which causes meningitis in severe cases, can cause delirium, coma, toxic shock and death.
“Symptoms usually occur within three to four days after exposure but can take as long as 10 days,” says the Lambton Public Health fact sheet posted on line. “If you (or your child) have been exposed, observe yourself (or your child) for ten days after contact and report ANY of the following symptoms IMMEDIATELY to your physician:high fever with sudden onset, intense headache, nausea and/or vomiting, a stiff neck, irritability or agitation,lethargy/drowsiness
and a pinpoint (petechial) or blotchy rash usually on buttocks, wrists or ankles.