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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 23, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner

Public Health Alert - Meningococcemia




JUNE 23, 2004

A 4-year-old child is hospitalized in Monmouth County with a confirmed case of Meningococcemia, a potentially serious infection due to the bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis.  Currently the child’s condition is serious but improving.

The child, an out of state resident, along with family visited the Chuck E Cheese Restaurant in Brick Plaza (Route 549), Brick Township, New Jersey, on Friday June 18, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Because the child was potentially incubating the illness at that time, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Ocean County Health Department recommend that patrons of Chuck E Cheese during the evening of June 18, 2004 contact their health care provider immediately to discuss potential exposure and risk of developing illness.


The child was admitted to the hospital on Sunday, June 20 with fever and rash.  The diagnosis was confirmed earlier today.  The disease is spread by prolonged, close contact with someone who has the illness. The bacteria are spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing cups, bottles, or eating utensils with the ill person. Even after exposure to the bacteria, it is very unusual to get infected, and it takes 2-10 days before symptoms appear.

  • Early treatment is important. The infection can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and a rash. These symptoms need immediate medical attention.  Shock, coma and death can occur.
  • Diagnosis can be made by laboratory tests of blood or spinal fluid.
  • After exposure to the bacteria, antibiotics can prevent infection.
  • Frequent hand washing is important.  Cover nose and mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing.  Avoid sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes, cups, drinking glasses, or water bottles.


Therefore, it is recommended that all close contacts of the case receive antibiotics.  The Monmouth County Health Department has already contacted family members of the child and other close contacts to recommend antibiotics as needed. 

If you need more information, please contact your family doctor or the Ocean County Department of Health at 732-341-9700 ext.7502.

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