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News from the Doc! Meningitis

News from the Doc! Meningitis

Dear family, friends, and patients in the community,

We have received a lot of questions about meningitis in the last couple of days, because of the unfortunate news of a Bartram Trail alumni who passed away this week. Many of you have called with a lot of questions about testing, vaccinations and exposure risk. Based on this I will pass along the information and recommendations:

1. After contacting the health department, the cases in question are being investigated as suspected meningitis by the health department. Although concerning for meningitis, this has not been confirmed, and as such we do not know a strain.
2. Regardless of exposure, we recommend that all persons keep up with all recommended vaccinations, including meningitis A (or Menactra) and the newer meningitis B (Trumenba).
3. There are no good tests to screen for meningitis. If you or someone you know may have been exposed, you should contact a doctor for evaluation and prophylactic treatment if indicated.
4. Symptoms of meningitis include but are not limited to a rapid onset of symptoms, the most common of which are high fever, stiffness in the neck and changes in mental status. If you have any questions, especially if there has been a potential exposure, you should seek medical evaluation immediately.
5. The meningitis vaccine is up to 85% effective, but does not offer ‘herd’ immunity, meaning if you are relying on other people’s vaccination status to protect you or your children, it won’t. Bacterial meningitis has a very high fatality rate, even with intensive treatment. It is for this reason that we highly recommend vaccination.

Most physicians who treat pediatric and adolescent patients will review vaccination status and update if needed at your annual Well Child Exam. Most of us use the online Florida database, “Florida Shots”, to track and coordinate shot records for our patients regardless of where they were received. I would strongly encourage you to make sure this annual exam is kept up with, as this is the best place to review all preventative health issues, including vaccines.

Ross Osborn, MD, FAAFP
Scott Marberry, MD, CAQSM
Nathan Adams, PA-C
Melissa Sutton, PA-C
The Center for Health and Sports Medicine

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