SAN DIEGO - San Diego County schools are being urged to watch out for signs of meningitis following an outbreak in nearby Tijuana, Mexico that's killed five people.
County health officials are urging 42 school districts to educate staff and parents about the warning signs and an available vaccine. They've also been directed to discourage students from sharing food or lip balm that can transmit the disease.
Authorities say many local families have relatives in Mexico and may be planning spring break visits.
Tijuana has reported at least 17 cases of meningococcal disease since January, including five deaths.
Officials have reported two cases of meningococcal disease in San Diego County, including a 36-year-old man who died last week. Neither of the people infected had been to Tijuana but their contacts may have traveled there.
Meningitis symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, a rash and a stiff neck.
According to a note sent to school nurses and health technicians, the following steps can help prevent the spread of meningococcal disease:
-Know the symptoms
-Contact a doctor when symptoms are present
-Get the meningococcal vaccine recommended for children between 11 to 18 years old.
-Use good hygiene such as frequent hand washing and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing
-Do not share food and beverages, water bottles, eating utensils, lipstick or lip balm
-Be aware of recent reports of meningococcal disease if traveling to Tijuana