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Confirmed case of bacterial meningitis at Palm Beach State College's Lake Worth campus

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 07:27:01-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County sent a letter Wednesday to students and staff at Palm Beach State College's Lake Worth campus to inform them of a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis.

Health officials said after investigating the case, they found there is no risk to the general population at the school for this case, which was caused by meningococcal disease.

Meningitis is defined as an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and may present with symptoms such as headache, fever, mental confusion and can lead to serious complications.

The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County said they worked with Palm Beach State College officials and identified all close contacts of the infected person, and antibiotics were provided as a preventative measure.

The college first informed students and staff of the case on Tuesday and "restricted access to all known areas of the campus which the individual may have been in contact."

"There is no recommendation at this time for any student, staff or faculty member to be provided antibiotics as a post exposure protective measure since there were no contacts identified as at risk from this confirmed case," the Department of Health said in a written statement.

People spread meningococcal bacteria to other people by sharing respiratory and saliva. Generally, it takes close coughing or kissing or lengthy contact to spread this type of bacteria.

Health officials said this type of bacteria is not as contagious as germs that cause the common cold or the flu. People do not catch the bacteria through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been.

Full letter from Florida Department of Health to Palm Beach State College: