AUBURN — An Auburn Middle School student is recovering from meningitis, and Superintendent Tom Morrill assured parents Wednesday that the strain the student has “is not highly communicable,” and other students are not at risk.

The student is doing well.

School officials are consulting with the school physician and are in direct contact with the student’s parents, Morrill said. “They will keep apprised of what’s going on.”

There are protocols that must be followed during outbreaks of certain diseases. When it’s serious, Maine’s Center for Disease Control becomes involved. The CDC is not currently involved; this one case is not considered an outbreak, Morrill said.

“Regardless, school personnel are always on the alert to any sort of illness or outbreak.” In the era of H1N1, it’s important “to emphasize that people should take care,” Morrill said.

Good hygiene — washing hands thoroughly with soap, not sharing water or other drink bottles, sneezing into sleeves and not hands — is important. “With that you’re really doing a wonderful job of protecting yourself,” Morrill said.

There are two categories of meningitis, bacterial and viral, said Dr. Andrew Pelletier of the Division of Infectious Disease in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Bacterial cases can be more severe. The state sees only about 10 of those cases a year, the small number is due to increased immunization, he said.

Viral cases are more common. Individuals with the viral disease tend to do well, Pelletier said. Those cases aren’t tracked by the state. “For viral meningitis, cough etiquette and hand-washing are the best prevention strategies,” he said.

— Bonnie Washuk

For more information: www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/faq.html


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