Loudoun health dept.: No wider threat after meningitis death

WASHINGTON — The Loudoun County Health Department says it does not believe there is a wider threat to the community after “recent publicity” surrounding a meningococcal meningitis death in the county.

While the department says that there are no signs of a wider outbreak, Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department says the health department “is evaluating all of the reports that we received to identify whether anyone is at an increased risk of infection.”

“Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time,” Goodfriend says, in a news release.

Goodfriend says it is always important to wash your hands often, and to go to a doctor when symptoms, such as fever, severe headaches or a stiff neck, arise.

Meningitis, an infection of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord, can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Knowing whether it is a virus or bacteria is important.

The bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis spread when there is direct contact with the infected person’s saliva, sputum or nasal mucus.

To lessen the likelihood of infection, health officials say you should avoid sharing personal items, including utensils, water bottles and lipstick and stay current on your vaccinations.

The health department’s comments come after the death of Madison Small. She died suddenly this week.

Small, 18 and a student at Broad Run High School, died from Neisseria Sepsis, says Nancy Bull, district administrator with the Virginia Department of Health.

Neisseria meningitides is one of several different types of bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis, says Goodfriend. Sepsis means the bacteria was present in Small’s blood.

Goodfriend says health officials have spoken with those who would be considered Small’s close contacts and recommended they take an antibiotic. They are not aware of anyone being sick as a result of being in close contact with her.



Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up