Indian Valley High School Student Contracts Bacterial Meningitis

The Indian Valley community is mourning the loss of a student who contracted Bacterial Meningitis.

In a press release the Tuscarawas County Health Department confirmed that on Friday evening they were notified of the situation by the Tuscarawas County Coroner’s Office

Officials explained that while the likelibcause is Bacterial Meningitis, test results are still pending.

The Health Department is stressing that the public is not st risk, noting the incident appears to be isolated.

The Indian Valley School District has cancelled classes at the high school on Monday, December 18th so the building can be thoroughly cleaned.

The district published the following protocol document online:

The District also offered the following FAQ’s about Bacterial Meningitis:

Bacterial Meningitis FAQs

The following represent the theme of questions which have been asked since the announcement of the “probable case of bacterial meningitis” with an Indian Valley High School student. School officials have worked with the Tuscarawas County Health Department (TCHD) to ensure accuracy of the information.

Q: I have been in contact with a person who was on the bus with the infected case. Should I be worried?

A: No. Unless you have come in direct contact with the respiratory droplets of the infected person, you are not considered at-risk. This bacteria cannot be contracted from secondary contact.

Q: Should I take my child to the hospital for the antibiotic treatment?

A: Only those students who were in close proximity of the infected case on Thursday, December 14 were recommended to go to the hospital for precautionary treatment. Those families were contacted by both school officials and TCHD on the evening of Friday, December 15.

If you were not contacted personally, you are not assumed to be at-risk. If you still have concerns, contact your family doctor.

Q: My child sat near the infected case at lunch earlier this week. Should I be concerned?

A: No. Meningitis comes on very quickly. Symptoms did not appear until Thursday, December 14. Those in close proximity prior to that are not considered at-risk.

Q: I had flu like symptoms this week. Should I be concerned?

A: It is improbable that a person experiencing flu-like symptoms has any correlation with this case. Transmission of the disease occurs through direct contact with respiratory droplets of the infected individual.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact your family doctor as you would at other times.

Q: Should students and events at other school buildings be concerned since many of those K-8 students have siblings who are high school students?

A: No. This bacteria cannot be contracted through secondary contact. Those who had the potential of coming in direct contact with the respiratory droplets of the infected case are the only ones considered at-risk.

All the students on Bus 24, regardless of grade level, were contacted Friday night as well as students who were in the restroom where the student got sick Thursday morning. The infected student then went home and had no other contact with the student body on Thursday.

It is a precautionary measure that the notified students were recommended for treatment, as most probably did not have direct contact with respiratory droplets of the infected individual.

Locations are not considered at-risk if the infected individual was not there on Thursday, December 14.

Q: If only the areas and individuals who were near the infected case on Thursday, December 14 are a concern, why is Indian Valley High School cancelling classes on Monday, December 18?

A: Peace of mind. Meningitis is a scary word. Even though not recommended as a necessary action, it is reassuring to the Board of Education, administrators, teachers, support staff, and most of all parents that we take time to do a good job cleaning. It helps all of us as a type of “insurance policy” and emotional comfort, which is important.

Note: The TCHD reminds that this is still considered a “probable” case and “confirmation” will take several days of lab tests. The precautions being taken are under the assumption that it is bacterial meningitis, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Health Departmen officials add the symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis often appear quickly. Symptoms can include chills, headaches, and fever.

Michaela Madison Reporting 

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