Parents and guardians of students at Perry County Shool District received an alarming email Friday in which the district informed them about a student at Perryville Elementary School who’d been diagnosed with a form of meningitis.

“District 32 has been notified this morning that a student at Perryville Elementary School has been diagnosed and is being treated for meningitis,” read the email sent out Friday afternoon. “At this time, we do not know if it is bacterial or viral meningitis. We will let you know as soon as we know, and provide follow-up information.”

On Monday, the district issued a follow-up email.   

“The immunologist reports this form of meningitis was not caused by Neisseria bacteria (meningococcus),” the email stated. “Rather, this form of meningitis comes from another type of infection. Therefore, there is no danger of student-to-student transfer of meningitis from this case.”

According to PCSD communications director Kate Martin, the first email was issued after school was dismissed Friday in order not to inflate the severity of the issue.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling.

Monday’s email also included an update on the student.

“Our student’s condition is improving, and their family, and our District family, thank you for the care and concern you have expressed.”

Early symptoms of meningitis include nausea and vomiting, fever, headache and a stiff neck, muscle pain, sensitivity to light, confusion, cold hands or feet and mottled skin, or, in some cases, a rash that does not fade under pressure.

In Monday’s email, Martin offered the district’s thanks.

“Our administrative and health team also thank our parents for the trust you place in us to care for and protect your children while they are at school,” she wrote.

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