KDHE: 2 reported cases of Meningitis in Stevens County appear viral

HUGOTON, Kan. (KWCH) Update 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20

Hugoton Public Schools says the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says two reported cases of Meningitis in Stevens County are mostly likely viral and not bacterial, as was initially feared.

The report from the KDHE follows a concern that a Hugoton Middle School student's illness appeared to be bacterial meningitis. That diagnosis was never confirmed.

The Center for Disease Control says viral meningitis is usually less severe than bacterial and people with normal immune systems usually get better on their own.

Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be deadly and requires immediate medical attention, the CDC says.

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Update 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20

The superintendent for Hugoton Public Schools says a a physician told him he thinks a middle school student's illness was bacterial meningitis, but a diagnosis hasn't been confirmed.

The superintendent says the district sent out a news release Thursday morning after word of a student with meningitis spread on social media.

Thursday morning, the release implied there was a case of meningitis at the middle school. However, the superintendent says while the release does urge locals to "take precaution" it never mentioned the case was confirmed as meningitis.

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Thursday, Sept. 20 morning

A Hugoton Middle School student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

In an open letter to parents on the school's website, school officials say they learned about the issue late Wednesday afternoon.

Bacterial meningitis presents flu-like symptoms for three to seven days after exposure.

The symptoms of meningitis infection may be sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck.

Bacterial meningitis is contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact.

Several strains of meningitis are preventable through vaccines.

The district encourages students to take the following precautions to prevent meningitis:

• Wash your hands
• Don't share drinks, food, straws, eating utensils, lip balm, etc.
• Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough
• Stay up to date on Vaccines