Student being tested for meningitis at Versailles, Mo. middle school

Published: Sep. 26, 2019 at 4:50 PM CDT
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A letter sent home to parents and posted online Wednesday broke the news: a Morgan County R-II School student might have viral meningitis.

"I learned about it probably mid-morning yesterday morning," said Dr. Joyce Ryerson, Superintendent.

Ryerson says the child's doctor felt the symptoms could be from viral meningitis. It's an illness that attacks the brain and nervous system.

"It causes inflammation in those nerves which leads to the initial symptoms that a person might notice," said Kirstin Bright, Registered Nurse and Case Manager at Prairie Hills Clinic.

Those symptoms include nausea, fever, headaches and migraines, and a stiff, painful neck.

"Unfortunately, we had had a similar case last year, so we kind of already knew the drill," Ryerson noted.

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, a Versailles middle school football player came down with symptoms of viral meningitis.

The school says it started deep cleaning lockers, water fountains, and door handles Wednesday. Teachers and administrators have also been urging students and others to wash hands more often, and use hand sanitizer.

"We ask parents, look if your children are sick, if they're running fever, if they're symptomatic, please don't send them to school. It's best to keep them isolated until 24 hours after the fever has passed," Ryerson said.

Unlike bacterial meningitis which could be deadly, viral meningitis typically runs its course in about a week to 10 days. There is a vaccine for it.

"You get two doses," Bright said. "Your first dose being between 11 and 14, and your second dose being your senior year."

But, the school says fewer people are being vaccinated, which might be leading to an increase in cases.

"It used to be there were very, very few children in the whole school system that hadn't been vaccinated, but there's quite a handful now," Ryerson said.

The school says if your child has had any of those nausea, headache, or fever symptoms, or if they've been diagnosed with strep - and those symptoms are still lingering after being treated by antibiotics, be sure to call your doctor.