Norwalk City Schools sent home an informational letter and two-page fact sheet to parents Thursday. The information was provided by epidemiologist Sydney Cmar at Huron County Public Health.
Corey Ream, NCS director of operations, said a janitor sanitized such items as desks, keyboards and doorknobs at the school Thursday and overnight staff members performed similar work overnight.
Superintendent George Fisk could not be reached for comment Friday because he was out of the district.
“Schools that have a student with aseptic/viral meningitis are recommended to increase awareness among staff and parents,” Cmar said. “General cleaning is sufficient.”
The epidemiologist said this form of meningitis is generally caused by viruses and occurs primarily in young children.
“Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis, an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord,” Cmar said. “It is often less severe than bacterial meningitis and most people get better on their own without treatment.”
Symptoms may include fever, headache, lack of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck.
“These symptoms may go away with no permanent damage in a few days to a week. If your child has any of these symptoms in the next few weeks, call your child’s doctor and tell them that your child may have been exposed to aseptic meningitis and is now feeling unwell. You will be advised on any further action needed, if any,” Cmar wrote in the letter to parents.
“The virus may be present in the bowel movement (poop) and saliva (spit) of infected persons. People are infected by swallowing the virus, either from fecal material (poop) or from respiratory droplets, such as from an uncovered cough or spit from infected persons.”
Reducing the spread of the virus and controlling it, according to the health department, can happen by:
• Washing your hands after changing a child’s diaper.
• Washing your hands and your children’s hands after using the toilet.
• Washing your hands and your children’s hands before eating.
• Not sharing drinking cups.
Cmar shared Huron County statistics related to viral meningitis.
“In 2017, there was one case. In 2016, there were two cases and in 2015 there were four cases.”
More information about viral meningitis can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html.
If you or your doctor have any further questions, call Sydney Cmar at Huron County Public Health at 419-668-1652 ext. 258.