Possible Meningitis Case in Bay County

The Bay County Health Department is reminding residents to stay healthy after a possible case of meningitis was identified Monday.

Officials say 19 to 90 cases of Meningitis are reported in Florida each year but by practicing healthy habits, you can lower your risk of contracting the bacterial disease.

A 60 year old woman on vacation with 12 family members in Panama City wound up in the hospital instead, with a possible Meningitis diagnosis.

Bay County Health Department Administrator Douglas Kent says, "the hospital once they had a diagnosis of a possibility and taken samples, they notified the health department and our epidemiology team went out and started investigating."

Her family has been given the appropriate antibiotics and she's undergoing treatment at bay medical for the next 10 days.

Hospital tests will confirm her diagnosis Wednesday.

"The reason why the EPI team and we go out so fast on these once they suspect a case is, is because the mortality rate is so high dealing with Meningitis," Kent says.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mortality rate of bacterial Meningitis is 15 percent.

That's not to be confused with viral Meningitis which is a less severe form.

Officials at the Health Department say about one case of bacterial meningitis gets reported in Bay County each year.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include nausea, vomitting, fever, a headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and even an altered mental state like confusion.

Public Health Services Manager Laura McKinney says, "Sometimes those symptoms can happen in a few hours but most of the time between three to seven days."

Since July 1, 39 children and eight adults have received the Meningitis vaccination.

Officials at the Bay County Health Department say if you're not sure whether or not you need a booster shot to just come on down during normal business hours.

The front desk can let you know.

Experts also recommend you avoid smoking, get plenty of rest, and stay away from other sick individuals.

"Make sure you wash your hands between people which a lot of times when you're greeting family you don't go washing hands between company but yes, that's probably the best way to prevent," McKinney adds.

The Bay County Health Department wants to emphasize this case will not be a threat to the general public.


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