2 confirmed cases of meningitis in Vermilion County
Vermilion County Health Department has confirmed 2 cases of viral meningitis. Local health officials are now warning community members to take simple precautions to reduce their risk.
“We’re lucky to be working with the Illinois department of health and health officials in our two hospitals, Carle and OSF Sacred Heart Medical Center,” public health administrator, Doug Toole said.
The county is also currently looking into 2 additional cases of suspected viral meningitis. Toole said the serious disease is contagious, but it is not as severe as bacterial meningitis, though they both have similar symptoms.
“You get a headache, low-grade fever and a stiff neck,” Toole said.
However, Toole said those are non-specific symptoms.
“It could be a whole lot of different things from stress to some tick-borne diseases,” Toole said. “With the viral meningitis that's usually where it stops and with the bacterial it has the potential to spread into more serious problems, but if you got those symptoms maybe make an appointment with the doctor.”
The department said those diagnosed with viral meningitis generally recover after a few days to a couple of weeks with no lasting side effects.
“With Bacterial meningitis you can treat it with antibiotics,” Toole said. “With viral you're more treating the symptoms of it, so you're trying to make the person comfortable keep them hydrated, give them rest, but they're still going to have some unpleasant days.”
In order to stay safe community members are reminded to practice good handwashing, avoid sharing utensils and drinks, and clean surfaces such as door knobs, toys and handles.
“We're used to seeing a lot of school kids at age 11 and then 16 with a booster get this vaccine for this and we certainly recommend it for kids,” Toole said. “If adults take a look at their shot records and realize they haven't gotten it, vaccines are a wonderful defense against this sort of thing.”
No word yet on the conditions of the 2 patients currently being treated for viral meningitis. Vermilion County Health Department said the last time there was a reported case of bacterial meningitis was in 2011.