Case of Bacterial Meningitis at Area High School
Oakland County, MichiganNewsCase of Bacterial Meningitis at Area High School

Case of Bacterial Meningitis at Area High School

Release Date: 10/2/2013 12:20 PM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Oakland County Media and Communications Officer
Contact Phone: 248-858-1048


OCHD Meningitis Fact Sheet

Pontiac, Michigan -- South Lyon Community Schools, in partnership with Oakland County Health Division, notified parents, students and staff at South Lyon East High School today of a case of bacterial meningitis. The specific type has not yet been identified. The Health Division and schools are working closely together to coordinate a proactive response. The student, who cannot be identified because of laws protecting personal health information, is undergoing medical care and can no longer spread the disease.

“The disease is not spread through casual contact or by simply being in the same room as an infected person,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Health Division. “A person must have direct contact with an infected person’s saliva during the seven days prior to the onset of the illness.”

Oakland County Health Division, under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, is in the process of identifying and contacting persons who have had close contact with the case and is making recommendations on who should have antibiotics to prevent infection. Close contacts include individuals who:

  • are living in the same household as the infected person
  • have kissed the infected person on the mouth
  • have items that come in contact with an infected person’s saliva, such as drinks from the same container (i.e. water bottles, cups, glasses), eating utensils, cigarettes, or lipstick

For all others, including those who had casual contact as would occur in most school-related activities, the risk of infection is very low. Preventive antibiotics are not recommended for casual contacts of infected persons.

Although the risk of disease to other students is quite low, parents are advised to be alert for signs of meningococcal disease. These include, but are not limited to a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and sometimes a rash.

If any of these signs or symptoms should develop, the individual should be taken immediately to a physician or emergency room to be evaluated for possible meningococcal disease. Antibiotic treatment of the disease is usually successful, especially if it is started early after symptoms first appear.

“Meningitis is a potentially serious illness that can be caused by many types of viruses or bacteria,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, chief of medical services for the Health Division. “The severity of the illness depends on the type of virus or bacteria causing it and at this time laboratory tests are still in process to identify the specific bacteria.”

To reduce the spread and risk of any communicable disease, it is recommended that students and staff not share items that come in contact with another person’s saliva such as foods, drinks, lipstick/balm, or cigarettes.

"South Lyon Community Schools appreciates the support of the Oakland County Health Division.  We send our best wishes to the student and the student’s family," Deputy Superintendent Melissa Baker said.

Parents, students or staff members who have any questions may contact Oakland County’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or For more information about bacterial meningitis, go to

For media inquiries only, please contact:
Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048
Kathy Forzley, manager/health office of Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410
Melissa Baker, deputy superintendent of South Lyon Schools, at 248-573-8127.