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Area man contracts bacterial meningitis

The Nevada County Community Health Department issued a health notice Tuesday after a Grass Valley man contracted bacterial meningitis that left him a coma for a few days.

County officials are working to track down people who could have had contact with the man, who is in his mid-20s. The disease is spread by close contact with spit or saliva, such as through kissing or sharing a bottle.

“He’s been going to parties that include people of his age and … younger,” said Hank Foley, community health director. “He’s attended a few parties in the last couple of weeks.”



The man was admitted Thursday to the emergency room at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Foley said. “He was quite sick. He was in a coma for a while and then he came out of it.”

County officials were able to track down a number of people who were in contact with the man. As a precaution, some were given Cipro, a powerful antibiotic. None of the man’s acquaintances tested positive for meningitis, Foley said.




Meningitis is a serious illness caused by a viral or bacterial infection in which the covering of a person’s spinal cord and brain is inflamed.

Due to confidentiality concerns, Foley can’t release the man’s name.

The chance of getting meningitis through casual contact is not great; it is spread by contact with spit or saliva. But Nevada County officials say you should seek medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms:

— high, spiking fever or chills

— sore throat

— nausea or vomiting

— severe headache

— a stiff or painful neck

— general malaise or confusion

— rash

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to meningitis, or think they are experiencing symptoms, should call their doctor or the Community Health Department during business hours at 265-7258.


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