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Meningitis diagnosis prompts warning

A 26-year-old Grass Valley man who spent three days in a coma with bacterial meningitis was released Wednesday from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

The man’s contagious illness prompted health officials in Nevada and Yuba counties to prescribe antibiotics to people with whom he came into contact, including four or five inmates and one deputy at the Yuba County Jail. The man was incarcerated there from Oct. 17 to 21 after the California Highway Patrol arrested him on a stolen-vehicle charge, said Yuba County Undersheriff Steven Durfor.

“A small number of inmates were housed with (him), and they have been identified and they have received the appropriate treatment,” Durfor said.



A Nevada County high school girl who had contact with the man was treated Tuesday with Cipro, an antibiotic, after she showed meningitis-like symptoms, said Hank Foley, Nevada County community health director.

“She went to the emergency room (with) fever and vomiting,” he said, but she tested negative for meningitis.




Several high school students may have had contact with the man, according to a letter sent home with students in the Nevada Joint Union High School District. “Several of our students may have been exposed to an infected individual at parties between Oct. 11 and 21,” the letter warned.

The chance of contracting meningitis through casual contact is small. The disease is spread by close contact with saliva, such as through kissing or sharing a bottle or pipe.

But county officials say people should seek medical attention if they develop high, spiking fever or chills; sore throat; nausea or vomiting; a severe headache; a stiff or painful neck; general malaise or confusion; rash.

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


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