Albany -- An Albany teen is diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis and tonight, preparations are being made to notify his school mates they may have been exposed. Police officers and paramedics who came in contact with him are already being treated as a precaution.
The Albany Police Car used to transport a 16 year old to Phoebe Putney Hospital Saturday morning remains quarantined. Bio-hazard stickers warn people to stay away. Albany Police Chief James Younger said "officers were called to a location on Gillionville Road to assist EMS with a subject who was very violent."
A 16 year old boy who was later diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis that has about a 30 percent fatality rate. District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant said she is positive the teen's violent behavior was caused by the meningitis. District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant said "they can actually lose consciousness, have altered mental status, which is what we hearing that this teen may have exhibited."
Chief Younger said "they did have to physically restrain him, handcuff him, and transport him in a Police Car." Six officers came in contact with the teen or the car he rode in. Those officers and Paramedics were called back to Phoebe after Doctors got preliminary tests that the teen had bacterial meningitis.
All the first responders were given medication to protect them from infection, and all remain on the job symptom free. But disease is a danger that emergency responders face. Chief Younger said "probably ten percent of the officers who die in the line of duty die as a result to job contracted illness."
Dr. Grant says the teen is recovering, and has been moved from Intensive Care to a private room in the hospital. She said bacterial meningitis takes close contact, like a direct cough or sneeze of infected droplets, or kissing, to be transmitted, but she is not sure just how much danger of infection the first responders were in.
Students at Albany High School were sent home with letters telling parents that the teen confirmed with bacterial meningitis went to their school. The letter from the Southwest Public Health District confirms that a student at Albany High School has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
The letter explains that transmission of the disease requires very close person to person contact. The bacteria is spread through respiratory droplets such as coughing, sneezing, or kissing. The letter says the symptoms of bacterial meningitis are high fever, severe headache or stiff neck.
The best way to reduce infection are washing hands, not sharing eating utensils, and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Concerned parents are told to contact Public Health or their Doctor.