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North High Employee Diagnosed With Meningitis

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In response to a Great Neck North employee being diagnosed with meningitis, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Prendergast sent the following letter to the school community on Tuesday, May 29.

Dear North High School Staff, Parents and Guardians:

I received a report from the Nassau County Department of Health about an individual at Great Neck North High School who has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease. While there is no need to panic, the Nassau County Department of Health requires that you be notified about this situation. Anyone who has been identified as having been in contact with this individual has already received a separate notification to contact their physician immediately to receive prophylactic treatment. Due to privacy laws, the name of the infected individual must remain confidential.

Meningococcal disease is a potentially severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream or meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord) caused by the meningococcus germ, which is spread by direct close contact with nose or throat discharges of an infected person. Symptoms can include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and rash and appear most often within five days after exposure, but can appear anytime between two and 10 days.

Individuals identified as having shared food, drink, eating utensils, kissing, smoking or a beverage container, or exchanged nasal or oral secretions or had any similar exposure including close face to face contact for a combined total of four hours or more may be at risk. This must have occurred on the dates of May 14, 15, 16, 23, 24 and/or 25, 2018.  Prophylactic treatment administered greater than 14 days after exposure to the individual is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, of limited or no value.

Casual contact, as might occur in a regular classroom or office setting, is not usually significant enough to cause concern.

Individuals who feel they have symptoms suggestive of the disease should contact their physician immediately and advise them that meningococcal meningitis has been diagnosed in the school. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the NHS nurse, Erin McCaffery at 516- 441-4710.

Learn more at https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2168/.

Sincerely,

Dr. Teresa Prendergast
Superintendent of Schools

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