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Citadel student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, officials say

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 10:40:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 05:03:17 AM CDT

Citadel student has Meningitis

READING, Pa. -

State health officials are monitoring a case of meningitis at the Reading Intermediate High School, commonly called the Citadel.

School officials said they learned from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday that an 8th grade student at the Citadel was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

The student and those people considered to be "close contacts" are being treated by health care providers, officials said.

In the meantime, the school has sent a letter home with students to notify parents of the illness and advise them of the common symptoms, which include high fever, headache and a stiff neck, officials said.

"These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one or two days," the letter stated. "Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness."

Dr. Matilde Sotomayor, who has a family medical practice in Reading, says, if a person is infected, bacterial meningitis can be cause for concern.

"Bacterial meningitis can leave a person deaf, can leave a person with mental retardation, or can even cause death," she said.

Dr. Sotomayor says there are precautions that can be taken.

"Do not drink from somebody else's Coca-Cola can, or somebody else's cup. Do not share containers of food where the hands or the droplets from their mouth have fallen," Sotomayor said.

Parents have been advised to contact their health care provider if their child exhibits any of the symptoms.

They have also been invited to contact the Citadel nurses at 484-258-7365 or the district's supervisor of school health at 610-370-8578.

State health officials made no recommendations to the district for any other action to be taken, said Kristin Boyd, the district's director of communications.