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Health Officials Hand Out Antibiotics In Oologah

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Health officials arrived on site Thursday hours after learning that several cases of meningococcal disease occurred in students who attend the school. More than 800 people received antibiotics over the two-day period. Health officials arrived on site Thursday hours after learning that several cases of meningococcal disease occurred in students who attend the school. More than 800 people received antibiotics over the two-day period.
One Oologah parent said the only word to describe her reaction to the deadly outbreak was "panic." One Oologah parent said the only word to describe her reaction to the deadly outbreak was "panic."
Oologah-Talala students lined up for antibiotic shots Thursday and Friday. Oologah-Talala students lined up for antibiotic shots Thursday and Friday.

NewsOn6.com

OOLOGAH, OK -- Rogers County health officials report 160 people visited the Oologah-Talala Lower Elementary School gym Friday for information regarding cases of meningococcal disease in the Oologah-Talala elementary school and to receive antibiotics.

Health officials arrived on site Thursday hours after learning that several cases of meningococcal disease occurred in students who attend the school. More than 800 people received antibiotics over the two-day period.

"Panic, panic all over the place; people are scared to death. It's just, send your kid one day to school and the next day they're gone," said Dawn Atwood, an Oologah resident.

With the Oologah-Talala school system closed through March 22nd for spring break, county health officials will provide services through the Rogers County Health Department, 2664 N Highway 88, Claremore, 918-341-3166 during regular office hours beginning Monday.

No new cases have been confirmed. In addition to the six cases previously reported, health officials will continue to investigate possible contacts and possible cases.

On Thursday, two students died of meningococcal disease, a 7-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.

According to the state medical examiner's office, the 8-year-old girl who died Thursday is Shuache Moua. She was a second grader in the Oologah-Talala Lower Elementary School.

Angela Thomas, the mother of 7-year-old Andrew Thomas, says her son was fine when he left on the school bus Wednesday morning. By 1 p.m. he had developed a high fever that was noticed in gym class. He died at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Four other students at Oologah-Talala Lower Elementary School remain hospitalized.

Related stories:
3/11/2010 Two Students From Oologah Elementary School Die From Bacterial Meningitis
3/11/2010 Oologah Schools, Health Department Work To Contain Deadly Illness

School officials announced on Thursday, all classes and other events on the Oologah-Talala campus for Friday were canceled.

Spring break was scheduled to begin at the end of the day Friday and will be observed as scheduled.

Children who attend the Lower Elementary school or who have ridden on Bus Nos. 1, 7, 12 or 17 are asked to visit the clinic Friday.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health phone bank has been open since Thursday. The hotline received more than 200 calls Friday and has handled more than 250 calls since opening.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health phone bank will be open Saturday, March 13th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to provide information to the public regarding cases of meningococcal disease in the Oologah-Talala elementary school. Callers can dial toll-free 1-866-278-7134.

Public health officials stress that the general public is not at risk. Only persons who have had close, personal contact to a person with a meningococcal infection have a slightly increased risk of developing the disease.

Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. Many healthy people carry meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat without any symptoms. Usually, the bacteria stay in the nose and throat for a few days and will then disappear. The bacteria are spread from person-to-person by direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat. The reason that the organism disappears in some people and produces illness in others is not clearly understood but is probably related to individual susceptibility.

The symptoms may appear two to ten days after infection, but usually appear within three to four days. People ill with meningococcal septicemia may have fever, nausea, vomiting and a rash. People that are ill with meningitis will have fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. It is important to seek care from a physician as soon as possible if these symptoms appear.

For more information on meningococcal disease, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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