Bullitt resident dies from meningitis
By Emily Hagedorn • firstname.lastname@example.org • January 5, 2010
An elderly Bullitt County resident who had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, which is a serious and rare infection, died in a Louisville hospital at 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Bullitt County Health Department said.
Public Health Director Swannie Jett declined to release the resident’s gender, name or age. He said the resident lived in rural Bullitt County with family and friends.
Bacterial meningitis is contagious. Bullitt County hasn’t seen a case of meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, since 2005, said Cynthia Brown, health education coordinator at the Bullitt County Health Department.
The health department sent out an alert about the patient’s diagnosis Monday. Residents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease and seek medical attention if these develop, it said.
Meningococcal meningitis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, according to the World Health Organization.
It is spread by person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets of infected people. It can cause high fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and rash. Complications include brain damage, deafness, paralysis and shock.
Good hygiene practices — such as washing hands thoroughly and often, cleaning contaminated surfaces, covering coughs and avoiding kissing and sharing drinking glasses and utensils — can cut down risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reporter Emily Hagedorn can be reached at (502) 582-7086.