The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Meningitis outbreak plagues CHS community

Numerous students all over the country have contracted the fatal disease of meningitis, including a student at CHS. Meningitis, or meningococcal disease, is a contagious infection of the brain and spinal cord that can ultimately lead to retardation or even death.

As a result, in September 2014 MCPS is implementing a mandatory Meningococcal vaccine starting with seventh graders.

“There are currently two kinds of meningococcal vaccines in the US,” MCPS clinician Alice Bird said. “MCV4 is preferred for people 55 years of age and younger, and MPSV4 is the only vaccine licensed for people older than 55.”

Meningitis spreads through continuous contact or exchange of saliva. At first, this disease can feel like a simple cold, but without rapid treatment, those infected could easily lose their lives.

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According to a Dec. 3 ABC News article, meningitis symptoms feel a lot like the flu, with a fever and body pains, but a stiff neck is the telltale sign that the illness is much more serious.

Several other signs of infection include sudden onset of chills, vomiting, headaches and rashes.

Although the effects could be deadly, students can protect themselves from this disease by simply being careful with what they touch and share.

According to Mayo Clinic Staff, washing your hands, practicing good hygiene, staying healthy and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze are a few simple ways to prevent from contracting meningitis.

The vaccine, which is currently available for all students, is a foolproof way of disease prevention.

“Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for adolescents,” Bird said. “They should get the first dose at 11 or 12 years and a booster at age 16.”

This deadly disease can attack at any time, and students should keep on the lookout for any possible symptoms.

“The meningitis shot felt the same as every other shot,” sophomore Celine Chan said. “My arm was sore for a few days, but I was fine after that.”

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Meningitis outbreak plagues CHS community