We want to share with you that we have been notified by the Athens County Health Department that one of our students has been diagnosed with and hospitalized for viral meningitis. I am sure you join me in sending thoughts and prayers for this Lancer’s recovery.
I do want to stress that while we received this information just recently, the student who is suffering has not been in school since last Wednesday.
In the meantime you may have some questions about your child’s health and well being with reference to this illness. We have posted below a letter provided by the Athens County Health Department about meningitis. This letter points out that the meningitis virus is present in the bowel movements and tae saliva of infected persons. People become infected only by swallowing the virus, either from fecal material or from respiratory droplets from infected persons.
You should know the vast majority of our students did not come in contact with the student who has the illness and as I said, this student has not been in school since last Wednesday. Additionally, the student will not be in school until the student is cleared by health professionals. We have also taken additional steps to thoroughly clean and disinfect any areas where the student may have been.
While we feel confident that the proper steps have been taken to manage this and our main concern is with the student in the hospital, we did want to make you aware and hopefully prevent the spread of any rumors.
The letter from the Athens County Health Department follows.
Dr. James R. Gaskell, MD ~ Health Commissioner
A case of aseptic meningitis has been confirmed in a child attending Federal Hocking HighSchool. Aseptic meningitis is generally caused by viruses and occurs primarily in young children. Meningitis is an irritation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms generally include fever, headache, lack of appetite, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting and stiff neck. These symptoms generally go away with no permanent damage after a few days to a week.
Should your child develop any of these symptoms in the next few weeks, contact your family doctor (or the health department, if you do not have a family doctor) and tell him or her that your child may have been exposed to aseptic meningitis and now is feeling unwell. You will be advised on further action needed, if any. The virus is present in the bowel movement and saliva of infected persons. People become infected only by swallowing the virus, either from fecal material or from respiratory droplets from infected persons. Spread of the virus can be reduced and controlled with a few simple measures:
• Wash your hands and your children's hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
• Wash your hands and your children's hands thoroughly before eating.
• Do not share drinking cups.
If you or your doctor has further questions, please contact the Athens City-County Health
Department at 740-592-4431.
James R. Gaskell, M.D.