New Jersey Department of Health Issues Public Alert About Meningococcal Disease in Camden County

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working closely with the Camden County Health Department in consultation with the Cenetrs for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning two confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in two students who attend Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill.


Through consultation with the CDC, the Department of Health and Senior Services is recommending that all students and faculty be treated with antibiotics and receive a meningococcal vaccine.


Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria and is spread by prolonged, close contact with someone who has the illness. The bacteria are spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing cups, bottles, or eating utensils with the ill person. Even after exposure to the bacteria, it is very unusual to get infected. Typically, after infection it takes two to 10 days before symptoms appear.


Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and a rash. These symptoms need immediate medical attention.  Diagnosis can be made by laboratory tests of blood or spinal fluid.


Early treatment is important.  After exposure to the bacteria, infection can be prevented by antibiotics.  In New Jersey in 2003 there were 30 cases of Meningococcal disease reported and 30 cases to date this year.


Source: Camden County Health Department