The Saratoga Sun -

Bacterial meningitis reported in Hanna

Student from Hanna Elementary School reportedly life-flighted from Laramie


February 20, 2019

*UPDATE* This story has been updated to reflect the closures of all elementary schools in the northern portion of Carbon County School District No. 2.

*UPDATE: 11:46 a.m.* Below the original story, readers will find the text of the letter sent to parents concerning bacterial meningitis, which has been made available by Superintendent Jim Copeland

It was announced in the final minutes of the meeting of the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) on Wednesday that a case of bacterial meningitis had been discovered in a student from at Hanna Elementary School. The student, who was not named, was reportedly life flighted from Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. CCSD2 Superintendent Jim Copeland informed the board that the strain of the bacteria was unknown at the time.

Copeland stated that Hanna Elementary School, Elk Mountain Elementary School, Medicine Bow Elementary School and Hanna, Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow High School would be closed for cleaning for the day of Thursday, Feb. 21 with the day being made up at a later date.

According to Traci Schneider, principal of elementary schools in Hanna, Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow, the child had been showing flu-like symptoms as early as last week.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include “sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck” according to the CDC. Other symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light) and confusion.

There are, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), several strains of bacteria that can cause meningitis. While the it has been known to cause death, most people are able to recover from the infection.

The most effective way to avoid contracting the infection is vaccination. The CDC states that there are vaccines for three types of bacteria that can cause meningitis: Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Hib.

The Saratoga Sun will work to have additional information as it becomes available.

Dear Parents,

I wanted to get out correct information regarding the current bacterial meningitis case of one of our Hanna Elementary students. First, the student is doing well this morning - responding to antibiotics - so we are thankful. Once we received the confirmed diagnosis yesterday, District Nurse Karen Patton composed the attached letter which was sent to the parents of students who attend our Northern Campuses under the direction of Principals Traci Schneider and Steven Priest. We also made the decision to close the Northern Campuses today as a precaution - and to allow for antibacterial disinfecting of the schools before resuming next Monday. The only confirmed case is from Hanna Elementary. However, because of proximity and connections, the decision was to close the other Northern campuses in addition to Hanna Elementary. We will continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect all of our campuses during this flu season and in light of this latest case.

Please see the attached letter which describes symptoms - very similar to flu - and consult your doctor if you see any symptoms. This information is being distributed Districtwide as a precaution - and to make sure correct information is given out to all.

If you have any questions, please call and we can put you in contact with our Nurses or refer you to medical resources.


Jim D. Copeland

Dear Parents/Guardians,

There has been a confirmed case of Bacterial Meningitis in Hanna Elementary. We want you to know what to watch for. The student has not been in school this week but symptoms may take 3 to 7 days after exposure to show up.

Usually you have to be in very close or regular contact with someone for the bacteria to pass between you. Even when this happens, most ofus will not become ill because we have natural immunity.

The bacteria cannot live longer than a few moments outside the human body, so they are not carried on things like clothes and bedding, toys or dishes.


Meningitis is an inflannnation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck.

Most cases of meningitis in the United States are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergency antibiotic treatment.

Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that someone has meningitis. Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications.


Early meningitis symptoms may mimic the flu (influenza). Symptoms may develop over several hours or over a few days.

Possible signs and symptoms in anyone older than the age of 2 include:

• Sudden high fever

• Stiffneck

• Severe headache that seems different than normal

• Headache with nausea or vomiting

• Confusion or difficulty concentrating

• Seizures

• Sleepiness or difficulty waking

• Sensitivity to light

• No appetite or thirst

• Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis)

Signs in newborns

Newborns and infants may show these signs:

• High fever

• Constant crying

• ​Excessive sleepiness or irritability

• Inactivity or sluggishness

• Poor feeding

• A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby's head (fontanel)

• Stiffness in a baby's body and neck

Infants with meningitis may be difficult to comfort, and may even cry harder when held.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical care if you or someone in your family has meningitis symptoms, such as:

• Fever

• Severe, unrelenting headache

• Confusion

• Vomiting

• Stiffneck

Bacterial meningitis is serious, and can be fatal within days without prompt antibiotic treatment. Delayed treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death.

It's also important to talk to your doctor if a family member or someone you work with has meningitis. You may need to take medications to prevent getting the infection.


Common bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis can spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils, a toothbrush or a cigarette.

These steps can help prevent meningitis:

• Wash your hands. Careful hand-washing helps prevent the spread of ge1ms. Teach children to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the toilet, spending time in a crowded public place or petting aninials. Show them how to vigorously and thoroughly wash and rinse their hands.

• Practice good hygiene. Don't share drinks, foods, straws, eating utensils, lip balms or toothbrushes with anyone else. Teach children and teens to avoid sharing these items too.

• Stay healthy. Maintain your immune system by getting enough rest, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

• Cover your mouth. When you need to cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth and nose.

• If you're pregnant, take care with food. Reduce your risk of listeriosis by cooking meat, including hot dogs and deli meat, to 165 F (74 C).Avoid cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. Choose cheeses that are clearly labeled as being made with pasteurized milk.


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