A staff member at Glenbrook North was recently diagnosed with viral meningitis and undergoing treatment at a local hospital, according to a letter issued by GBN's principal, Paul Pryma.
The letter said this case of the potentially serious illness was reviewed by the Cook County Department of Health, which does not recommend further preventative actions for the school, students or staff at GBN.
Also, this virus is not transmitted by routine classroom contact or breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been — the virus can spread to people through direct contact with a patient's respiratory secretions such as saliva, sputum or nasal mucus, or through fecal contamination that can occur when changing a diaper or using the toilet and not properly washing hands afterwards, according to the letter.
Likewise, people around someone with viral meningitis have a chance of becoming infected with the virus, but likely won't necessarily develop meningitis from the exposure, the letter reads.
Unlike other forms of meningitis, the letter explains, this current virus is typically less severe than other types of the illness and can resolve without specific treatment.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord. Last year, a GBN teacher died from Neisseria meningitidis, and public health officials did not recommend preventative actions then either.
Early signs of meningitis include fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and confusion, according to Wednesday's announcement.
The school believes students haven't been exposed to the disease, according to the letter, but still advise parents to observe children for symptoms.
For more information, please contact your primary health care physician or the school nurse. The CDC also provides information on their website at http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html.