Two Possible Meningitis Cases

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Two Harlem High School students are at Swedish American Hospital diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The Illinois Department of Public Health will confirm if these two sporadic cases are in fact meningitis.

The bacterial infection called meningitis has school officials worried about where it's been spread. A senior boy and a junior girl at Harlem High School will be hospitalized for the next week. Both have un-confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis. Harlem School District Superintendent Pat DeLuca says the district has two days to prepare. With Veterans Day and Parent Teacher Conferences, Harlem High School students won't be in class till Wednesday. So the district is working quickly with the Winnebago County Health Department.

The bacterial infection causes inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. Antibiotics can treat bacterial meningitis. But some forms are contagious. Meningitis can be transmitted by close intimate contact such as coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils. A few of the symptoms are nausea, neck stiffness and a high temperature.

For Harlem High School students or parents, the Winnebago County Health Department has set up an information line. That will be in operation on Monday. Call 720-4242 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.