ADPH confirms meningitidis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday that a locally reported case of neisseria meninigitidis, also known as meningocochal disease, has been confirmed.

Teresa Porter, a registered nurse who serves as ADPH’s emergency preparedness coordinator, said the case reported last week by Andalusia Regional Hospital has been confirmed by the state lab.

Porter said that the disease is spread through the human reservoir, not through water, as many residents feared.

“This appears to be a very sporadic case,” she said. “This is how most of these cases occur.”

Both the ADPH and Andalusia Regional Hospital are prohibited from identifying the name of the patient who presented with the disease.

Andalusia Regional Hospital did not release specific information about the case, but a spokeswoman did confirm that personnel followed up on a case last Monday with infectious control policies.

“A patient was treated in the Emergency Department (Monday) night for an infection that could be contagious,” the statement said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we followed our Infection Control policies and diverted ambulance traffic for a brief period in order to disinfect the unit. Appropriate public health authorities have been notified about this case. We resumed all normal activities by 9 p.m. (Monday) night.”

No other cases have been reported in Alabama, she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, common symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include sudden fever, headache, and stiff neck. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion. Meningococcal disease can also cause an infection of the blood which can lead to tiredness, vomiting, cold hands and feet, chills, severe aches and pain, fast breathing, diarrhea, and a dark purple rash.

The usual incubation period for the disease is up to 10 days, Porter said.