2 children in Boston infected with meningococcal disease - The Boston Globe
Two young children in Boston were diagnosed with the infectious meningococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis, a bacterial infection of the brain and spinal cord, officials announced Wednesday.
"Both cases have been associated with day care centers specializing in serving children who have experienced homelessness, however it is not currently known if the two cases are connected," Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission said in a statement.
All of the people who are known to have been in close contact with the children have received antibiotics to reduce their risk of getting infected, officials said. The last day either of the children was at one of the day care centers was Friday.
Meningococcal disease can cause meningitis if the bacterium infects the lining of the brain or spinal cord, or septicemia if the bacterium infects the blood. The investigation into the cases is ongoing, and the public health commission has not released the extent of the children's disease.
There are up to 15 reported cases of the disease in Massachusetts each year, officials said.
Early detection is important to the treatment of the disease. Up to 15 percent of cases lead to death or permanent damage such as the loss of a limb or nervous system problems, according to the public health commission.
Meningococcal disease spreads through saliva and requires close contact, according to the public health commission.
Symptoms typically develop in one to four days and include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and an altered mental status, officials said. Those who develop symptoms should contact their health care providers. Officials are also encouraging residents to talk to their health care providers about receiving the vaccination for the disease.
Maria Lovato can be reached at [email protected]globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.
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