Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Sick Westside High School Student "at Independent School" has Meningococcal Disease

"LACDPH does not believe there is a significantly elevated risk to SMMUSD students and staff."

 

Wikipedia

Child suffering from Meningococcal disease.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warned the SMMUSD that they are investigating a high school student for meningococcal disease. There is a vaccine, and it's possible to recover from it. But limbs sometimes have to be amputated for advanced patients of Meningococcal disease.

"Due to privacy laws, DPH has asked us not to release the name of the school," wrote District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker, confirming that the student in question does not attend an SMMUSD school. "No notice went out to Malibu families. They (LACDPH) just asked us to send to Olympic and Samohi parents."

The SMMUSD press release below says nothing about the death of Samohi 10th grader Vanai Jelks in October, or the death of SamoHi Senior Kelly Cano in January 2017. Some speculated that meningitis could be the cause, because the two girls died of a brief illness after only a few days of being sick. Their symptoms seemed to be similar to influenza.

"Those deaths are not related nor connected," wrote Bernard, from LACDPH. "There is no evidence of an infectious cause for either and no evidence of any link between them. For more information on invasive meningococcal disease cases, you can view the latest report here: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/docs/IMD2017.pdf "

Symptoms of meningococcemia are, at least initially, similar to those of influenza. Typically, the first symptoms include fever, nausea, myalgia, headache, arthralgia, chills, diarrhea, stiff neck, and malaise. Later symptoms include septic shock, purpura, hypotension, cyanosis, petechiae, seizures, anxiety, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Acute respiratory distress syndrome and altered mental status may also occur. The petichial rash appear with the 'star-like' shape. Meningococcal sepsis has a greater mortality rate than meningococcal meningitis, but the risk of neurologic sequelae is much lower.

Meningococcal disease describes infections caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also termed meningococcus). It carries a high mortality rate if untreated but is a vaccine-preventable disease. While best known as a cause of meningitis, widespread blood infection can result in sepsis, which is a more damaging and dangerous condition. Meningitis and meningococcemia are major causes of illness, death, and disability in both developed and under-developed countries.

Here's the letter from SMMUSD:

Dear parents and guardians of Samohi and Olympic High School students,

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) is investigating a high school student at an independent school on the Westside for meningococcal disease.

LACDPH does not believe there is a significantly elevated risk to SMMUSD students and staff.

They have asked us to provide this information to parents of Samohi and Olympic High School students for precautionary purposes. Please see attached.

Thank you.

Community & Public Relations Department

Superintendent's Office, SMMUSD

 

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