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Inmate contracts rare form of meningitis

An inmate at the Farmington Correctional Center (FCC) has been diagnosed with Haemophilus Meningitis, an illness most common in unvaccinated children under the age of 4.

The 36-year-old inmate, whose name is not being released, was first diagnosed over the weekend and is hospitalized in a mid-Missouri hospital.

John Fougere of the Department of Corrections said inmates at FCC who had contact with the offender are “mostly confined in their cells” for a period of 24 to 48 hours as a precautionary measure. Fougere said inmates are able to eat outside of their cells, but are kept separate from the rest of the population.

Any staff who had recent contact with the inmate is free to come and go as normal. Treatment is available to all staff and inmates who had recent contact with the offender.

“This type of meningitis is contracted with person to person contact with mucus,” said Fougere.

Fougere said his department is working closely with the Department of Health and Senior Services on the matter.

“We just don’t see that much disease spreading among healthy adults,” said Douglas Dodson of the Department of Health. Dodson said vaccinations have been required for children under the age of four over the past 10 years, because that age group seemed the only ones usually affected by the disease.

Liz Maserang, Communicable Disease Coordinator for the St. Francois County Health Department, said vaccinations for the public are not warranted at this point.

“There’s some meningitis that requires immediate attention,” Maserang said. “I would like to just alleviate fears that if there was a need for immediate attention (in this matter), we would provide the vaccinations needed.”

Maserang said some symptoms of Haemophilus Meningitis include fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck and being very weak, but stresses the disease is rare in adults.

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