A series of meningitis infections have appeared in various areas of Massachusetts. An unnamed seventh-grade student at Boston Latin Academy died today from a probable case of bacterial meningitis, as well as 64-year old Russell Marcoux, the town manager of Bedford, on November 10. A staff member of Hopedale Junior-Senior High also fell ill on November 17, but appears to be doing well.
Health commission officials have concluded that there are less than fifty people at the Boston Latin Academy who came in contact enough with the 12-year old girl to have possibly contracted the infection, and have advised anyone who spent extended amounts of time with her to visit their doctor. Dr. Anita Barry, the director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the health commission, said “We consider close contact to be someone who was within 3 to 6 feet for at least an hour duration. It’s not someone who happened to walk past”.
Meanwhile, in Bedford, N.H., town official Russell Marcoux was hospitalized on October 31 at Elliot hospital in Manchester. Cause of his contraction of the illness is unknown, though it is believed that it was not contagious.
Also, parents of students at Hopedale Junior-Senior High have been contacted after a staff member fell ill, but state health officials say that the chances of the infection spreading are slim.
Meningitis can be transferred through contact with saliva, but can be avoided with a vaccine that prevents three strains of the virus. Symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic, include high fever, severe headaches, stiff neck, vomiting or nausea, difficulty concentrating, sleepiness, and sensitivity to light.