Viral Meningitis Confirmed at L.I. High School

Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 5:50 PM EDT
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Viral Meningitis Confirmed at L.I. High School

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A staff member of a Long Island high school has been diagnosed with viral meningitis, a serious and somewhat contagious inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

The West Babylon school district informed parents of the confirmed case through its website, www.wbschools.org, and automated telephone messages Monday.

Viral meningitis is not as serious as bacterial meningitis, which can result in disability or death if not treated promptly, according to the Center for Disease Controls.

Still, because the symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to those of bacterial meningitis, it's important for people suspected of having the disease to seek medical care and have their spinal fluid tested, says the CDC.

Different viruses that cause viral meningitis are spread in different ways, but most commonly through direct contact with an infected person's stool.

The West Babylon school district outlined measures on its website for reducing the risk for viral meningitis, including washing hands thoroughly and often, cleaning contaminated surfaces like handles and doorknobs, and following general good hygiene practices.

School principal Ellice F. Vassalo also said surface cleanings were being done in rooms occupied by the staff member.

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