MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A California man who toured schools in Dane County and Minnesota as part of a singing program was admitted to a hospital with meningococcal meningitis, state officials said Monday.
They said the disease was rare and the children who attended the programs as part of the "Opera for the Young," which toured from Nov. 12 through Nov. 20, were not considered to be at risk because it is spread by intimate, direct contact with saliva and respiratory droplets.
The 36-year-old patient, whose name was not released, went to the UW Hospital's emergency room Sunday afternoon, state epidemiologist Tom Haupt said. He was in good condition Monday.
A spinal tap found indications of the bacteria, which is a potentially fatal inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, Haupt said.
The time interval between when a person becomes infected and when they show signs of illness can range between two and 10 days but is commonly three or four days, Haupt said.
Direct contact includes kissing or sharing eating utensils, drinking glasses, cigarettes or water bottles. Those who have casual contact are not considered at risk for developing the disease.
Epidemiologists from the Dane County and Madison health departments were working with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health and University Hospital to contact all those who may be at risk of developing the disease to determine if they need preventive treatment.
The Middleton family with whom the man was staying were given preventive antibiotics, but similar medications were not given to the school children who attended his program, Haupt said. Wisconsin averages 35 to 55 confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis each year.
On the Net:
Wisconsin Division of Public Health: http://www.dhfs.state.wi.us/aboutDHFS/dph/dph.htm
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