The death of a Westbrook 2-year-old girl last week from what appears to be meningitis has prompted state health officials to alert school officials and health care professionals about the bacterial infection.

The state issued a high-priority public health alert Friday after the case was confirmed and distributed information to Cumberland County school officials. On Monday, Westbrook’s superintendent sent letters home with pupils to inform parents about the symptoms and method of transmission.

While the child did not attend a public school, Superintendent Dr. Reza Namin said the letter describing the condition was sent home with students because the circumstances are likely to create rumors and anxiety.

Bacteria of the type suspected in the child’s death can be spread through close contact with saliva not through the air, on surfaces or in stool or urine, said the letter, developed by the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Parents should alert a health care provider if a child has a high fever with a headache or a rash.

The CDC has worked with the family to identify anyone who had close contact with the child.

The CDC said Maine has an average of eight cases of meningococcal disease each year, had four cases last year and has had four cases so far this year. It is highly unusual to see more than one case of the infection at one time, the CDC said.

More information is available at the Maine CDC Health Alert Network System.