, Derry, New Hampshire


October 4, 2012

Viral meningitis in Londonderry High School

No cause for alarm

LONDONDERRY — A Londonderry High School faculty member was diagnosed with viral meningitis last week, but officials said there is no cause for concern by parents of students.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said the state Department of Health has not declared a public health issue.

Although viral meningitis is a serious affliction, it is not highly contagious, according Chris Adamski, the bureau chief of infectious diseases for the state Health Department.

“The disease can be spread through respiratory secretions such as saliva, but it is rarely contagious,” she said.

Although she is not sure why, Adamski said viral meningitis cases seem to increase in the fall and summer.

Greenberg said all the schools are cleaned every night with anti-bacterial cleaners.

“Other than that, there is nothing else we can really do,” he said. “But we always promote proper hygiene to combat diseases.”

Adamski agreed, saying the only real treatments are rest and the occasional headache medicine.

In addition, a healthy immune system as well as basic hygiene can help prevent the virus from spreading.

Adamski said schools do a fantastic job of notifying the proper officials when somebody is diagnosed with viral meningitis and the school received a call from a Londonderry school official early last week.

Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, headache and fatigue. The symptoms can last anywhere from seven days to two weeks.

While the virus is serious, it is rarely fatal, Adamski said.

However, in 2010, a Londonderry High School student died due to the virus, after exhibiting symptoms for one week.

Last year, another faculty member at Londonderry High School was diagnosed with viral meningitis and survived.

So far, Greenberg said, no additional parents, students, or faculty members have been diagnosed with the disease.

“The last I heard the faculty member in question is recovering nicely,” Greenberg said.

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