Lafayette deals with meningitis case scare

Bay City News
Wednesday May 30, 2001

LAFAYETTE – Contra Costa County health officials are completed a second day of clinic care and education Tuesday after an adult chaperone on a weekend camping trip was hospitalized with meningitis. 

Contra Costa County communicable diseases program manager Sirlura Taylor said county public health director Wendel Brunner and county health services director William Walker were both out talking to worried parents and children at Lafayette and Burton Valley elementary schools today. 

In addition, the officials scheduled a clinic at Lafayette to dispense prophylactic antibiotics until noon. 

Taylor said the antibiotics are being provided to anyone who had contact with the unidentified man, who has been hospitalized for meningococcal meningitis at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Taylor said county health officials found out about the problem with the camping trip involving about 120 students in a call from the state health department Sunday night. 

She said school officials immediately began calling parents with children on the trip to let them know about the clinics Monday and today. 

Taylor said the disease is not a highly communicable one. 

“It's not like measles or chicken pox, which is highly airborne and infectious,” Taylor said. “Meningococcal disease is spread by direct contact, eating out of same plate, drinking out of same glass.” 

She said the reports of the disease this year have been widely publicized, however, even though its incidence is not particularly high this year 

“It's been in the media a lot,” she said. “Actually Contra Costa County has not had as many cases this year as last year.”