Health Department investigates multiple cases of viral meningitis in Utah County school

Photo Courtesy: Alpine Schools

PROVO, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Health officials at the Utah County Health Department are investigating multiple cases of viral meningitis in students at Lone Peak High School in Highland.

Fewer than 10 students have contracted viral meningitis, Aislynn Tolman-Hill, public information officer for the UCHD, told Gephardt Daily.

“It’s likely they initially caught the virus before school even started,” she said.

A news release from the UCHD said meningitis is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms may include headache, fever, stiff neck and vomiting.

“An outbreak of viral meningitis is very unlikely,” the news release said. “Many common infectious viruses always exist in the community. Often viral infections are mild, with symptoms similar to that of a cold.”

“We as the Health Department encourage everyone, especially students, to be up-to-date on vaccinations,” said Steve Mickelson, nursing division director for the UCHD. “One or more vaccinations lend protection related to meningitis and other illnesses. Vaccinations not only protect us as individuals, but also protect the community as a whole.”

The CDC states that adolescents need their meningitis vaccination prior to 7th grade, when they are 11 or 12 years old, and to follow up with a second shot at age 16.

Prevention measures are similar to those of other viral illnesses:

  • wash hands frequently
  • cover coughs and sneezes with arm or sleeve (not hands)
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched surfaces, especially when someone is sick
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • stay up-to-date on vaccinations
  • stay home when you are sick

Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider.

More information about viral meningitis may be found here.


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