A teenager died early this week at the Brevard Juvenile Detention Center. He was unconscious when found.
“Meningococcal disease is a very serious infection of the blood or membranes around the brain (meningitis). The disease is contagious and most common in infants, adolescents and young adults,” a statement from the Health Department said.
“We are working closely with officials at the Brevard Juvenile Detention Center to determine all close contacts of this child and provide preventive medication to those who may be impacted,” Health Department Director Dr. Heidar Heshmati said.
Heshmati said 42 people at the center have received preventive medication, and more than 70 people at another location also got the medication, including everyone who treated the patient.
Preventive medication was given to 42 people at the center and over 70 others received the same treatment at the other location, not to mention everyone who were responsible for treating the patient. The pathogen is so lethal that health officials are taking no chances.
“The bacteria responsible for meningococcal disease, Neisseria meningitidis, are spread through person-to-person contact, such as occurs within a household or group setting. Examples include sharing utensils, food or toothbrushes, drinking from the same cup, sleeping in the same room as the infected person, direct contact with a patient’s oral secretions or coughing in close contact.
“Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting and a skin rash. People should seek medical attention immediately if their child becomes ill with any of these symptoms.
“Vaccines that protect against most types of meningococcal disease are routinely recommended for adolescents beginning at 11-12 years of age. All residents should routinely practice good hygiene such as covering their noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing; disposing of soiled tissues; not sharing utensils, glasses or toothbrushes; and washing hands after bathroom visits and before eating,” the statement said.