Risk of Meningitis Infection Low, Health Officials Say
Albany, April 12 -- New York State, Saratoga County and Shenendahowa School District officials are investigating a suspected case of Meningococcal meningitis in a Koda Junior High School student. The disease, a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream and the meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord), occurs infrequently. Fewer than 250 cases are reported annually in New York State, approximately 150 of them upstate. Most cases are isolated and clusters or outbreaks are rare.
"While I understand the public's concern, there is no need to panic or be worried that an imminent threat to the public health is under way," said State Health Commissioner Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D. "Meningoccal meningitis is unusual and is not spread through casual contact. Only individuals who have been in close, prolonged, personal contact with a person with this disease are at risk, and that risk while possible is a small one."
Dr. DeBuono said that health officials have identified family members, friends and other persons who may have had extremely close contact with the patient. These people are receiving antibiotics to prevent illness.
4/12/96-47 OPAContact: Claudia Hutton, Director, Public Affairs (518) 474-7354
New York State Department of Health Posted 5/10/96