Meningitis outbreak in Wichita area leads to several hospitalizations among infants
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A meningitis outbreak in south central Kansas is cited as the culprit to several hospitalizations among area infants. Pediatricians at Wesley Medical Center report noticing the increase over the past several weeks.
One pediatrician at Wesley discussed doctors recently seeing a rare virus in infants, leading to meningitis.
Wesley Medical Center Pediatric Medical Director Dr. Stephanie Kuhlmann said she’s seen at least one new case per day over the last few weeks. That, she said, is a big increase.
“We see these kinds of summer viruses pretty routinely, but for some reason, we’re just seeing more this particular summer than what we usually do,” Dr. Kuhlmann said.
She said new parents need to be concerned about the usually rare virus.
“The last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase rise in cases of viral meningitis in our young, infant populations, specifically in infants about three months of age,” Dr. Kuhlmann said. “We’ve had probably close to about a dozen or so cases hospitalized in the last three weeks or so.”
The virus primarily has been affecting infants younger than six weeks old. Meningitis can lead to blood infections and infections in and around the brain, doctors warn.
Dr. Kuhlmann said while the virus is dangerous, the infection can be easily prevented by practicing good hygiene, including adequate hand washing and keeping infants away from people who were recently ill. She advised waiting at least a week or two before letting anyone with a fever, cough, cold, runny nose or any respiratory symptoms to be around your infant.
Parents with infants who show any viral symptoms should immediately seek medical help.
“Just can’t” stress enough, if you have a young baby, especially under a month of age that either has a fever or it’s just not acting right as you know, if too sleepy, not feeding well, anything like that, make sure you get them seen and checked out,” Dr. Kuhlmann said.
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