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Meningitis case at N-F, student is recovering

Monday, December 4, 2006

A confirmed case of bacterial meningitis at Newell-Fonda Schools has been reported. Superintendent of Schools Ron Day said all guidelines are being followed to handle the incident.

Parents were notified Wednesday of a "suspected case." Another note Thursday confirmed the contagious illness.

According to Buena Vista County Public Health Director Sally Bonnesen, a Fonda girl was brought to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Wednesday. As a communicable disease, cases are reported to local and state health officials.

Bonnesen said the subject, who was not identified, was transferred to an Omaha hospital for treatment and is recovering. State officials determined that classmates do not need to be treated, although the student's family reportedly received precautionary treatment. When caught early, the disease is treatable.

The state instructed school nurse Stacey Tiefenthaler to dispense "specific" information to fourth and fifth grade parents.

On the average, there are only about 25-30 cases of meningitis reported in Iowa per year, but the disease has had a major impact locally of late. Meningitis claimed the lives of a Storm Lake infant and an Aurelia high school boy last spring and sent others to the hospital for treatment. This fall, meningitis hit students on the Buena Vista University campus. Hundreds of students were vaccinated. The local cases are unrelated.

According to Kevin Tealeof the Iowa Department of Public Health, there have been 19 confirmed cases so far this year, 12 of those in northwest Iowa. "We don't know why there have been so many cases in that area of the state but we're not calling it an outbreak situation by any means," Teale said.

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