Meningitis in Medford schools

Medford, Ore. —  Jackson County Health and Human Services and Medford Public Schools confirmed on Wednesday, they are trying to stop the spread of bacterial meningitis at two schools.

One student has a confirmed case of the disease, another has a suspected case. The two students are siblings that go to two different schools. Jackson County Health and Human Services and Medford School District want students and families to know they’re doing everything they can to make sure this doesn’t spread to someone else.

“It’s rare. It’s not highly transmissible. But it’s serious,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health and Human Services.

Two siblings – both sick. One has bacterial meningitis, the other is showing symptoms.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our facilities and maintenance and custodial crew had extra cleaning at both schools,” said Michelle Zundel, Medford School District.

The younger sibling goes to hoover elementary school and is confirmed to have the disease. The older sibling goes to Hedrick Middle School and is showing signs of meningitis.

Neither sibling, however, is vaccinated for the disease.  The older one never received it, and the younger student is too young to get it.

Medford school district does not require students to have the vaccine. It instead, teaches healthy habits.

“We teach children to wash their hands at an early age and to cover their coughs,” Zundel said.

Jackson County Human Services said this is not an outbreak, and families should not be alarmed.

“The public is safe. And we are using extra caution to reduce the incidents for those who have had direct, intimate contact with the cases,” Shames said.

75 people who did come into contact with the patients are taking antibiotics. Meanwhile, district and health workers say the best course of action for families is to take care of themselves – without jumping to conclusions.

“We believe that good information goes a long way to helping people know how concerned to be and what actions they can take to be safe and healthy,” Zundel said.

Some of the symptoms of bacterial meningitis include a rash, especially in areas like your ankles where elastic puts pressure on your skin. Fever, neck stiffness, headache, and weakness are also signs of the disease. There is also a vaccine for the disease. However, it doesn’t cover all strains of meningitis –
and you must be eleven years or older to receive it.

NBC5 News Reporter and Weather Forecaster Nikki Torres graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Strategic Communication from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

She also received a minor in Business Administration from the Washington State University Carson College of Business. Prior to coming to NBC5, Nikki was an intern at KHQ Local News, the NBC affiliate in Spokane.

She comes to Southern Oregon from the state of Washington, where she grew up just south of Seattle. She loves running, exploring the Pacific Northwest, watching a good football game and spending time with her dog, Gisele. True to her roots, Nikki is a proud WSU Cougar fan and loyal Seahawks fan.

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