TRI-CITIES, TN/VA (WJHL) – Chilhowie Elementary School is closed for the rest of the week after a child was diagnosed with meningitis; a Carter County family who lost their son to the infection has a warning for parents to get their kids vaccinated.
Health officials confirm one case of meningitis at the school that is likely to be bacterial meningitis; they’re also trying to find out if two other children also have the disease.
As a precaution, the Smyth County, Virginia School system decided to cancel classes at Chilhowie Elementary Thursday and Friday.
The Martin family of Carter County lost their son Adam when he was just 15-years-old. His mother Jennifer Martin said Adam was not vaccinated and she wants parents across our community to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccines.
Over the past seven years four Tri-Cities area counties have seen bacterial meningitis; two cases in Greene County and Unicoi County and one case in Washington County and Carter County.
In Virginia, the most recent numbers from 2015 show ten meningitis cases statewide, none in Southwest Virginia.
Those numbers became reality for the Martin family. Six years ago, Adam Martin an Elizabethton High School freshman died after contracting bacterial meningitis. Wednesday night his mother Jennifer told us the only symptom was a headache, the next day he was gone.
The Center for Disease Control said meningitis is often spread on campuses.
Elon University near Winston-Salem, North Carolina had a confirmed case of meningitis Wednesday morning.
ETSU’s Emergency Management Specialist Andrew Worley said preventing the spread of diseases like meningitis is always a top priority.
“The first thing we try to do is educate about what it is. The folks that may come in contact with students, like our student health clinic, places like that will just be on heightened alert,” Worley said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said common symptoms of meningitis include fever, headaches, chills, body aches, nausea and neck stiffness.
Anyone who’s experiencing these symptoms is encouraged to contact their doctor immediately. The CDC recommends children get vaccinated for meningitis at 11 to 12 years old.
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