March 21, 2017
For More Information Contact:
- Edith Bobko, Health Educator, 276-781-7450
(CHILHOWIE, Va.) — On March 8, 2017 three probable cases of meningococcal meningitis, a serious and sometimes fatal illness, were reported in individuals associated with Chilhowie Elementary School. Since that time, no further cases of meningitis have been reported.
“Two of the individuals were confirmed as having Neisseria meningitis, serotype B,” says Karen Shelton, M.D., health director for the Mount Rogers Health District. “The third case was not confirmed but highly suspicious and for the purposes of treatment we consider it to be bacterial meningitis. Today ends the two-week period of increased surveillance for additional cases of meningitis. I want to express my gratitude to the Smyth County Schools and community healthcare providers for their tremendous response and their efforts in treating all possible contacts,” Shelton continues. “At this time, we recommend and encourage routine vaccinations for meningitis.”
Meningococcal disease is spread by direct contact, including droplets from the nose and mouth of persons who carry the bacteria. Preventive behaviors, including good personal hygiene and regular handwashing, help prevent the spread of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all preteens be vaccinated for meningitis at age 11 or 12, with a booster vaccine at age 16. Adults at increased risk for meningococcal disease also should be vaccinated.
Vaccines are available from your healthcare provider or your local health department. For more information, call:
- Bland County Health Department, 276-688-3642;
- Bristol Virginia Health Department, 276-642-7335;
- Carroll County Health Department, 276-730-3180;
- Galax City Health Department, 276-236-6127;
- Grayson County Health Department, 276-773-2961;
- Smyth County Health Department, 276-781-7460;
- Washington County Health Department, 276-676-5604; or
- Wythe County Health Department, 276-228-5507.