Nov 2, 2015

Palm Beach County Schoolboy Succumbs to Bacterial Meningitis

By on 5:32 AM

Each year, approximately 500 people die from bacterial meningitis, which often results in a fatal outcome. If patients survive the illness, it can often leave them with serious complications such as hearing loss and brain damage. These diseases tend to spread more quickly where larger groups of people gather together. College students living in residence halls and military personnel are at increased risk for bacterial infections such as meningococcal meningitis (caused by Neisseria meningitidis).

A five-year-old Palm Beach County resident is the latest victim in Florida to die after developing meningitis. This is causing concern among the school community. The Florida Department of Health began administering prophylactic antibiotics shortly after the diagnosis was confirmed. These antibiotics are very effective in preventing the spread of the illness to others.

Public school students in Palm Beach County are not required to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis, but the health department recommends children receive the vaccine. The Immunization Action Coalition, a non-profit that advocates for increased immunization rates, reports that at least 22 states and Washington, D.C., require students to receive the vaccine (meningococcal).

In 2014, a high school senior in Lakeland, Florida, died of complications from the illness, and a case was reported at an elementary school in Miramar in 2013.

Health officials will closely monitor children and staff at the hospital in Palm Beach County. Concerned families can contact officials for advice.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.


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