CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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Two Caroline students contract meningitis

Two Caroline County students have been diagnosed with two different types of a contagious meningitis.

Caroline County Public Schools spokeswoman Dolly Lindsey said tonight that the students attend Bowling Green Primary and Caroline Middle schools.

Rappahannock Area Health District Director Bonnie Rossheim said in a news release that one student became ill with viral meningitis and the other with meningococcal meningitis.

There may be limited or no risk to other students, she said.

“The Rappahannock Area Health District is working with Caroline County Public Schools to take appropriate measures to protect the health of students, parents/guardians, faculty and staff, and the general public, Rossheim said.

Viral meningitis is the most most common type of meningitis, and usually produces symptoms milder than but similar to bacterial meningitis–fever, headaches, stiff neck and aversion to light.

Still, victims can be very uncomfortable, and the disease is associated with more than 26,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People infected with meningococcal disease may have the sudden onset of high fever, headache and stiff neck. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, discomfort with bright lights, confusion and sleepiness. The bacteria are spread through respiratory droplets.

Close contacts of the two students, including family, friends and classmates, will be identified and offered preventative antibiotics, Rossheim said. Those who are not close contacts are not recommended to receive antibiotics, she said.

Good hand-washing is an important way of preventing the disease, Rossheim said.

Anyone with concerns about either bacterial or viral meningitis can contact the Caroline Health Department at 804/633-5465 or the Rappahannock Area Health District at 540/899-4797.

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