Earth Watch Report  –  Epidemic Hazards



Meningococcal disease can appear in several different forms – as meningitis, as septicaemia (blood poisoning), or as a combination of both.



Meningitis is not the same as meningococcal disease. There are many different types of meningitis. It’s the more dangerous bacterial form which may appear as meningococcal disease.

23.03.2013 Epidemic Hazard USA State of California, San Diego [Porter Elementary School, T Street] Damage level
Details

Epidemic Hazard in USA on Saturday, 23 March, 2013 at 05:58 (05:58 AM) UTC.

Description
A staff member at Porter Elementary in the San Diego Unified School District, 4800 T St., has an infection caused by the meningococcal bacteria, according to officials with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The last time the staff member was at school was March 15. HHSA has already notified people who have been in close contact with the individual that they should receive antibiotics to prevent any possible infection. None of those close contacts were from the school. The individual with the infection is being treated at a local hospital. “The risk to individuals who are not in direct contact with the infected individual is minimal,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the person infected.” This is the third case of meningococcal disease reported in 2013.
Biohazard name: Meningococcal infection
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms: Symptoms may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck, and a rash that does not blanch under pressure.
Status: confirmed

Employee at Porter Elementary School Diagnosed with Meningococcal Bacterial Infection

Story Published: Mar 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM PDT

Story Updated: Mar 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM PDT

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A staff member at Porter Elementary School has an infection caused by meningococcal bacteria, making that person the third case of the illness reported in San Diego County this year, county health officials said Friday.

The staff member was last at the school March 15, and is being treated at a hospital, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Officials said they had notified those who had been in close contact with the infected individual, none of whom were from the school.

“The risk to individuals who are not in direct contact with the infected individual is minimal,” county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. “Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the person infected.”

The bacteria is spread through contact, such as sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, or water bottles. It also can be spread by kissing and living in close quarters.

County health officials said people who had close contact with the infected individual should receive preventative antibiotics, but antibiotics are not recommended for those who were not in close contact.

They should, however, be aware of possible symptoms including fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck and a rash that does not blanch under pressure, and make sure they have received the recommended vaccination against the disease, HHSA officials said.

The time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms can be between two to 10 days.

HHSA officials said they were working with federal, state and Baja California health officials to determine if local cases were linked to the 18 cases diagnosed in Tijuana since Jan. 4, including six deaths.

The Porter Elementary School staff member was the third person diagnosed with the disease locally this year, according to the HHSA.

A 39-year-old San Diego County man, who had not traveled to Tijuana, died of meningococcal disease last week. A 1-year-old was hospitalized with the illness last month, but survived.

Since 2005, the number of cases of meningococcal disease each year in San Diego County ranged from four to 14.