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meningitis scarier than ebola for now

TLBentley tlbentley at aol.com
Wed Mar 1 20:57:01 EST 1995

on 1 Mar 1995 11:02:32 GMT
Daniel B. Watkins wrote:

>While Ebola Zaire, Sudan, Reston and Marburg are certainly worth
>there is a meningitis outbreak going on in the U.S. right now. This
>morning's.paper mentions seven people who have died in Texas over the
last few >months. 
>The CDC reported in last week's MMWR about a new, deadly strain in
>There have been at least two recent deaths in Seattle, Washington,
>I have read about an outbreak in the Great Lakes states earlier this
>and I know that there has been at least one recent death in Georgia.
>supposedly hard to contract, this pathogen may have changed.

>Seems like to me that there is something potentially dangerous going on

>watkinsl at freenet.fsu.edu
fsu as in Florida State?
Meningitis is simply the term for inflammation of the meninges ( the
covering of the brain )...the cause can be bacterial or viral and even
fungal.  Viral meningitis is also called aseptic meningitis and is not
considered  communicable.  Only certain types of bacterial meningitis are
a risk for close personal contacts of the patient.  Close personal contact
consists of living in the same household, kissing the patient, sharing
food or beverages.  H. flu meningitis has been drastically reduced by the
childhood HIB vaccination and direct exposures to a case are treated with
antibiotic prophylaxis.  Meningococcal meningitis rarely occurs in
clusters ( only known if appropiate serotyping of the bacteria is done )
and antibiotic treatment of close contacts is very effective.

There are still other forms of bacterial meningitis which are not

Why do people die?  Sometimes the disease is ahead of the diagnosis and
appropiate antibiotic treatment isn't in time.   Immunosuppressed
patients, the very young and the elderly are the most at risk.

For more information consult the "bible" of public health...Control of
Communicable Diseases in Man (1990) published by the American Public
Health Association, or call your local health department and ask for
communicable diseases or epidemiology. 

Trudy L. Bentley BSN,RN
nurse epidemiologist in public health practice
also  reachable at bent101w at wonder.em.cdc.gov

>>DON'T PANIC<< the Hitchhikker's Guide to the Galaxy

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