Meningitis can spread by sharing food or drink - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Meningitis can spread by sharing food or drink

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A Dyersburg teenager died from complications from bacterial Meningitis.

The health department in that area is investigating how he could have gotten the illness. And some wonder how they could potentially get sick with the disease.

Vanessa Landers with the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Department said people spread Meningitis through respiratory in the nose, or saliva.

So, she says people living in close living situations, like college dorms, or summer camps, can easily spread the disease.

She said it's important that people don't share utensils, cups, or food.

"Don't eat and drink after each other," said Landers. "Have your own food, don't share toothbrushes, don't share anything of that nature because you don't know what someone else has, you don't know how well your immune system may work, or not work."

She said there are two types of Meningitis. The virus, that she says is not serious, and doctors can treat the symptoms.

The second type is the bacteria that can be deadly. Landers said children could lose limbs.

Landers said doctors will prescribe an antibiotic to treat the illness, and said people who are exposed to someone else with Meningitis can also go on antibiotics to prevent from getting sick.

She said some people don't see symptoms of the illness until 3-7 days after he or she was exposed.

Landers said if you have Meningitis you might see symptoms like a fever, sore throat, stiff neck, aches and pains, nausea, and vomiting.

Landers said it's important to practice good hygiene like washing your hands, coughing into your arm, and not sharing things like toothbrushes.

"Kids in schools, they share water bottles, and everybody passes it around, that's the prime suspect candidates for this type of exposure and risk for kids," said Landers.

Landers said they strongly encourage people to get the Meningitis vaccine, especially kids or teens going to college or camp.

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