Union Schools, Tulsa County Health Department Urge Calm After Meningitis Scare
TULSA, Oklahoma - A student at Tulsa Union's Jefferson Elementary School was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis over the weekend.
The Tulsa Health Department says the case is unconfirmed and not a threat to public health, but the school still took steps to calm the concerns of parents.
Tulsa Union school officials and a health department representative met with the media Tuesday afternoon as they addressed a student's bacterial meningitis case in a news conference.
The school district sent a letter to parents of students at Jefferson Elementary at 8418 South 107th East Avenue on Monday, advising that the student developed flu-like symptoms on February 7, 2012, and hasn't been back to school since.
"Let parents know that we are aware and doing what we could on our end to help the situation," said Jefferson Elementary Principal Kim Wilson.
The letter, she says, was a preventative step to inform families about the diagnosis and symptoms to watch for in their children.
Things like fever, stiff neck, or sore throat. Wilson says the school has been properly disinfected.
"I'm going to be real honest, it's business as usual. We are trying to continue day to day operations like we do everyday," she said.
The Health Department tells the News On 6 it is not running independent tests to confirm the hospital's diagnosis because no other children have become sick.
"This is not, and I'm just going to say it, this is not the same strain that existed in Oologah. I know when we hear meningitis we jump straight to the tragedy that surrounded those events. That's not what's going on here," said Alycia Plati of the Tulsa Health Department.
The Tulsa County Health Department says it is not investigating further.
"This is not a public health threat. We're not concerned about this becoming a public health threat," Alycia Plati said.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says bacterial meningitis can result in brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.
It says bacterial meningitis symptoms include high fever, headache and stiff neck for anyone over the age of 2 years.
These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days.
Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness.
A 2010 outbreak of bacterial meningitis in Oologah killed two students, 7-year old Andrew Thomas and 8-year old Shuache Moua, and sickened 4 others, including Jeremiah Mitchell, who lost all four limbs to the illness and is still recovering to this day.
The health department says it is flu season. Flu symptoms and meningitis symptoms can be similar. The health department says, as a parent, go with your gut. If you child isn't feeling well, or you have questions, call your family doctor.