Noon update: According to the most recent statement from the Lassen County Public Health Department, one confirmed case and 11 suspected cases of viral meningitis are being investigated.
“At this time Lassen High School and Lassen Community College will be closed effective immediately for today, Thursday, Sept. 28, and Friday, Sept. 29. Extracurricular activities have also been ordered to be cancelled. At this time schools will tentatively re-open on Monday, Oct. 2. No other closures have been issued at this time. We will continue to update the public with more information as it becomes available,” read the statement.
The department also said viral meningitis is an inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is less severe than bacterial meningitis, with most people recovering on their own within seven to 10 days.
“Viral meningitis cannot be treated by antibiotics, and there is no need for contacts of cases to receive preventive antibiotics. Although clusters of cases of viral meningitis are not common, they do occur and we are working with the California Department of Public Health,” continued the statement.
The California Department of Public Health has been notified about the cases, and available samples will be forwarded for the testing of viral pathogens.
Anyone feeling unwell with the symptoms of meningitis are encouraged to seek medical attention to rule out bacterial meningitis.
According to the Susanville School District Facebook page, “Custodial staff at the school sites have ramped up their efforts to provide deeper cleaning of the facilities as a preventative measure. Staff is talking with students about personal hygiene and preventative measures each student can take to help prevent spread of the virus.”
Update: According to the Lassen High School Facebook page, “The Lassen County Health Department has directed Lassen High School and Lassen Community College to close for today and tomorrow. More information will be sent as soon as we have the official press release.”
Buses are set to leave the high school at 10:10 a.m., according to the Facebook post.
We will provide updates as they become available.
There have been four confirmed cases of viral meningitis in Lassen County, according to a statement from Lassen County Public Health issued today, Wednesday, Sept. 27.
Viral meningitis, which is a common disease caused by a virus infecting the brain and spinal cord, is less severe than bacterial meningitis and most people fully recover within a week.
However, in the statement the department said, “If you believe you have been exposed to the illness and are experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease, it is important that you do not go to work or school and seek medical treatment.”
Viral Meningitis symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Stiff neck
- Some people may have rash, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting.
- Like with any illness, good personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water; hand sanitizer may not be effective against certain viruses.
- Wash your hands before eating, drinking or preparing food; after using the bathroom or changing diapers; after coughing or sneezing and after touching your nose or mouth.
- Do not share drinks, food, eating utensils, lipstick or other items that may have come into contact with someone else’s saliva.
- If you are caring for someone with viral meningitis, your chances of contracting the virus are very low, but you should wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces that come in contact with the person’s saliva, nose secretions or feces with soap and water.
- Disinfect items with diluted bleach (1/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water).
“Strict isolation is not required, however, people diagnosed with viral meningitis should not return to school or work until the symptoms are gone. If you are sick, stay home. This is the best way to not spread any illness,” read the statement.
Lassen County Public Health is working with medical providers to ensure the prompt identification, reporting and investigation of patients who exhibit signs and symptoms of viral meningitis.
For more information, visit archive.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/ViralMeningitisF actSheet.pdf.