Rockland County health officials reported Monday of a bacterial meningitis fatality.  The individual was a foreign national who was visiting relatives for the holidays. During the visit, the individual fell ill and was taken by the family to a local hospital.

Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström
Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Health officials do not specify what country the deceased was from or any other demographics or the type of bacterial meningitis implicated in the death.

The Health Department has since identified those who have had direct contact with the patient. Those people have been prescribed a course of post-exposure antibiotics. At this time, there are no additional community contacts or exposures of concern in Rockland County. There is no risk of further spread of meningitis to local residents.

Meningitis can be very serious; as a matter of fact certain types of bacterial meningitis can be rapidly fatal without early treatment. It is one of the conditions considered to be a medical emergency that is related to infectious diseases.

In bacterial meningitis, the following symptoms are typical: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, photophobia (sensitivity to light), skin rashes and seizures. Quick treatment is paramount to prevent serious complications and death. Permanent deafness, neurological problems and hydrocephalus are all sequelae.