A student who attends Wiscasset Middle High School has a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tests confirmed the case Tuesday, the agency said in a statement.

“The risk to the public is very low,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director. “Mainers should be aware of this disease, so they can seek medical attention promptly if they have any of the symptoms.”

The Maine CDC notified Wiscasset Middle High School and local medical facilities of the case and is working to notify people who may have been exposed.

“The student attended two public events during their infectious period: the Wiscasset Middle High School Alumni Banquet on June 1 and the Wiscasset Middle High School Graduation on June 6. There are no specific actions that students, staff, or visitors to the school, alumni banquet, or graduation should take in response,” said the statement.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by an infection, include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, light sensitivity, a dark purple rash and confusion.

Bacterial meningitis is rare in Maine, with one reported case in 2018 and one in 2017, according to the agency.

The bacteria are passed to others through saliva. Meningitis is not as contagious as the common cold and flu, and does not spread through the air, on surfaces, or in the stool or urine.

“It typically takes close or lengthy contact, such as kissing and sharing food or drinks, to spread these bacteria,” according to the Maine CDC. “Close contacts include people who live with the individual, and anyone who has had direct contact with the individual’s saliva. Close contacts can receive antibiotics, which can prevent the disease. Maine CDC is working closely with the student’s family and with area doctors to ensure close contacts of the student receive antibiotics. Classmates, teachers, staff, and graduation attendees are not considered close contacts and Maine CDC does not recommend antibiotics for them.”

For the 2018-19 school year, Maine implemented a new meningitis vaccine requirement for students entering seventh and 12th grades.


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