Eaglecrest High School in Arapahoe County, Colorado, canceled classes and afterschool activities on Wednesday after a teacher died from a suspected case of bacterial meningitis.
Colorado Teacher Died Due to Alleged Meningitis
Maddie Schmidt, an Instructional Learning Center teacher who worked with students with developmental or cognitive delays, died over the weekend with symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis, according to a published article in FOX News.
Cherry Creek School District confirmed the case in a letter and added that closure would allow Arapahoe County Public Health to finish contact tracing and determine the next steps. Staff and families of students who were in close contact with Schmidt would be offered preventative antibiotics.
What is Bacterial Meningitis?
Bacterial meningitis is described as a serious illness that may require hospitalization, but it can be treated with antibiotics. The bacteria that cause meningitis can spread by contact with saliva, nose, or throat discharges of an infected person. Individuals who are infected by asymptomatic carriers can still pass on the bacteria.
Meanwhile, symptomatic people can be contagious until completing 24 hours of antibiotic treatment. Symptoms of an infection include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, sleepiness, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, being disoriented, irritable, or confused, as well as eyes sensitive to light, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CBS News reports.
The district is working closely with Arapahoe County Public Health to identify students or staff who may have been in close contact with the infected staff person. The closure and preventative measures have been taken out of an abundance of caution to avoid any further spread of the disease.