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Meningococcal Disease: One Dead, One Recovering In Douglas County

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Douglas County Public Health officials report one person has died and another remains hospitalized as a result of meningococcal disease. This is not considered an outbreak and as KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports, doctors are confident the disease is contained.  

Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria present in the noses and throats of about 10% of the population. When it is  spread—it’s through very close, prolonged personal contact. Symptoms include high fever, headache and stiff neck.

Dr. Paul Norris is Douglas County’s Public Health Physician. He’s seen his share of meningitis cases and now feels confident the two identified in emergency rooms last week are *isolated.

Dr. Norris: “We cannot find any connection. They did not know each other. They did not have any common friends. They kind of led different lifestyles. There’s also no connection, I think U of O has had 7 cases since January of last year. We cannot find any link between those cases and the ones we had here.”

One student died in the U of O meningitis outbreak last February.

Epidemiologists are investigating both Douglas County cases. So far, no other individuals have reported symptoms. There are vaccinations against various groups of meningococcal disease and they’re available through your doctor.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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