The Vermilion County Health Department said it wasn’t notified about a fatal case of bacterial meningitis earlier this month because it wasn’t the form of the disease that medical providers are required to report.
The News-Gazette reports that a Danville woman who died earlier this month, 22-year-old Honesty Kiley, had been infected with a bacteria form of the disease. It was the type that often results from a trauma injury and isn’t contagious, and that’s way it wasn’t reported by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. The woman apparently injured herself doing a back flip. She was treated at Sacred heart Medical Center in Danville and transferred to Carle in Urbana.
Health Department Administrator Douglas Toole responded to concerns about meningitis in the area last week by issuing an alert saying health officials weren’t aware of any cases of the more serious, contagious strains of bacterial meningitis in Vermilion County. The health department had been informed by area medical providers that there were several cases of viral meningitis.
Viral meningitis is generally more common but not as serious as bacterial meningitis. People with viral meningitis commonly experience headaches, stiff necks and low-grade fever. But most people recover within a few days. Any age can be affected by it, but young children and those with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible. While it is important to seek medical care when experiencing fever, headache and a stiff neck, patients usually gets better on their own with rest and hydration.
Toole said health officials are not aware of any cases of the more serious, contagious strains of bacterial meningitis in Vermilion County. Those strains of bacterial meningitis can progress to include permanent disabilities such as brain damage and hearing loss, and can be life-threatening. The last time a patient in Vermilion County was reported to have bacterial meningitis was 2011.
Simple precautions can reduce the risk of contracting meningitis. Toole suggested that the best method of prevention is the meningitis vaccine. Most children receive an initial vaccine at 11, and a booster shot at 16. In addition, people should practice good hand washing, avoid sharing utensils and drinks, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when sick to avoid spreading diseases.