EVERETT---Marysville School District notified parents yesterday that a middle school student has died of a blood infection caused by meningococcal bacteria. Snohomish Health District is working closely with school officials to identify anyone at the school who might need antibiotic treatment.
“The bacteria that caused this illness are not spread by casual contact or simply by breathing the air where a person with the infection has been,” said M. Ward Hinds, MD. MPH, health officer for Snohomish County. He said the bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, as may happen in kissing or sharing of food or drinks.
Based on its investigation and contact interviews, the Health District will determine the need for antibiotic treatment among any school contacts as well as family members.
“We are confident in our partnership with the Health District to protect the health and safety of our students and staff,” said Judy Parker, spokeswoman for Marysville School District.
Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis as well as blood infection, as occurred in this child. With blood infection there may be rapid onset of illness with fever and chills and a skin rash. Common symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Anyone with these symptoms should consult their personal physician as soon as possible. The number of meningococal infections cases reported in Snohomish County has ranged between three and seven cases a year since 1998.
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at www.snohd.org.