CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — Students and staff of Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista are being warned to watch out for symptoms of meningococcal disease, after a member of the school's community was diagnosed with the illness.
The individual was previously healthy and is now undergoing treatment at a local hospital, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). All those closest to the individual have been identified for preventative antibiotics.
Antibiotics aren't being recommended for those who were not close contacts, as the disease is spread by close contact, according to the county.
"While meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, it is not spread through casual contact. Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal," Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said in a release. "We want to make sure students are up to date on their vaccinations and make sure that those in the school community look for the appropriate signs and symptoms."
Symptoms can include fever, intense headache, sensitivity to light and noise, stiff neck, and/or a rash that does not blanch under pressure. Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should be evaluated by their health care provider or at an emergency department.
The county does not believe there's any connection between this case and three cases at San Diego State University in 2018.
Twelve total cases of meningococcal disease were reported in San Diego County in 2018. There have been two so far in 2019.
About meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis and is spread person-to-person by close contact.
In most people, the bacteria can exist in the mouth and nose and cause no symptoms. The bacteria cause cause serious to potentially life-threatening disease by causing inflammation of the tissues covering the brain (meningitis) and/or an infection in the bloodstream.
The bacteria can spread through close contact with an ill person, such as sharing oral secretions, like through kissing, sharing glasswear, eating utensils, water bottles, etc.
Two-dose series vaccines are available to prevent some strains of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal conjugate vaccines protect against the serogroups A, C, W and Y strains, while the recombinant vaccine protects against meningococcoal B, according to the county.