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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 13, 2004

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Gretchen Michael
609-984-7160


 
PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT -- MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE IN CAMDEN COUNTY


 

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working closely with the Camden County Health Department in consultation with the CDC concerning two confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in two students who attend Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill.

Through consultation with the CDC, the Department of Health and Senior Services is recommending that all students and faculty be treated with antibiotics and receive a meningococcal vaccine.

The Camden County Health Department will be setting up a clinic at Camden Catholic High School on December 14th and 15th.  Antibiotics will be dispensed on Tuesday, December 14th, and vaccinations will be administered on Wednesday, December 15th.

All minors under the age of 18 must have a signed consent form from their parent or guardian before receiving any medical treatment.  The form can be found on the high school’s web site at www.camdencatholic.org.

Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria and 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. Typically, after infection it takes 2-10 days before symptoms appear.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and a rash. These symptoms need immediate medical attention.  Diagnosis can be made by laboratory tests of blood or spinal fluid.

Early treatment is important.  After exposure to the bacteria, infection can be prevented by antibiotics.  In New Jersey in 2003 there were 30 cases of Meningococcal disease reported and 30 cases to date this year.

For more information please contact the Camden County Health Department (www.camdencounty.com) at 856-374-6356 or Camden Catholic High School at 856-663-2247.

 
 
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