Ken Carlson

Oakdale boy diagnosed with viral meningitis

Stanislaus County public health officials responded this week to a case of meningitis involving a student at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Oakdale.

Dr. John Walker, county public health officer, said the 8-year-old boy was hospitalized and returned home Friday.

The student was determined to have had viral meningitis, Walker said. The viral form of the illness is not as severe as meningococcal meningitis, a dangerous bacterial illness that triggers an aggressive public health response to keep it from spreading to others.

Walker said there was no need to treat any people who came into contact with the 8-year-old student, whose name was not released.

The Oakdale Unified School District used its Web page, emails and automated calls to inform Fair Oaks parents about the meningitis case. The school district said there were no reports of additional students infected.

Meningitis is spread by close contact with an infected individual through coughing, sharing drinks or kissing.

According to Wednesday’s notice, the school district did a second round of cleaning in classrooms, and its health offices were keeping tabs on students who didn’t feel well. “As always, we advise parents to monitor their children’s health status, and (they) may want to consider consulting with their doctor if any health concerns arise,” the notice read.

Meningitis symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting or nausea, confusion, sleepiness and sensitivity to light.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms may appear over several hours or a couple of days.

Stanislaus County had 38 cases of viral meningitis last year and 32 cases in 2013. Walker said only one case of meningococcal meningitis has been reported in the county in the past five years.

For more information on viral meningitis, see the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page at

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at or (209) 578-2321.