UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Some Union County parents told 7 News they were concerned after a school employee was diagnosed with meningitis.
About 500 students attend Jonesville Elementary/Middle School where the person works.
7 News spoke with a doctor and learned more about the virus and what parents need to know.
“Folks are pretty miserable when they have it, but it’s not generally fatal,” Dr. Chip Bounds said about viral meningitis.
“The most common symptom is a fever and headache. It’s often accompanied by a stiff neck, irritability,” he said. “It can be accompanied by a cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.”
When parents heard an employee at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School had been diagnosed, they were a little worried about their children.
“He’s been sick for four months and his immune system is really low, so it did concern me a little bit,” Tiffany Edwards said.
“Especially in a small town, it just spreads like a wildfire,” Joy Harris added.
Dr. Bounds says bacterial meningitis is very dangerous, but viral meningitis–while annoying–is not usually deadly.
“It heals itself in 7-10 days. No antibiotics will cure this, so it’s basically let your body do its thing and get rid of the bug,” he said. “The best thing is good hand-washing. Keep the hand sanitizer handy. Secondly, don’t panic.”
According to a statement from the Union County School District, the school is being properly sanitized. That includes all surfaces being disinfected multiple times, as well as carpets and walls being cleaned for the next 7-10 days.
The school’s principal also released a statement, saying they don’t believe anyone who may have come into contact with the affected employee needs to seek treatment, but said they will continue to monitor all illnesses at the school and will remain in contact with DHEC.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, or if you notice any of the symptoms of this particular illness, you’re encouraged to contact your doctor.