Colorado high school cancels classes after teacher dies of suspected bacterial meningitis
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A Colorado high school canceled classes Wednesday after a teacher died from what's believed to be a case of bacterial meningitis.
All afterschool activities and sports at Eaglecrest High School in Arapahoe County were also canceled out of an abundance of caution, according to a letter from the Cherry Creek School District. The district is headquartered in Greenwood Village in the Denver metro area.
Teacher Maddie Schmidt died over the weekend with symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis, according to the letter, which cited the Arapahoe County Public Health Department.
Schmidt was an Instructional Learning Center teacher at the high school, the district confirmed to FOX Business. According to Colorado Public Radio (CPR), she worked with students that have developmental or cognitive delays.
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"We take this matter very seriously and are working closely with Arapahoe County Public Health (ACPH) to identify students or staff who may have been in close contact with the infected staff person," the district's letter read.
Cherry Creek said that closure Wednesday will give the health Arapahoe County Public Health Department an extra day to finish contract tracing and determine the next steps.
Staff and families of students who were determined to be in close contact with Schmidt will be offered preventative antibiotics, according to the district.
Bacterial meningitis, which can be contagious, is described as a "serious illness that may require hospitalization but can be treated with antibiotics," the district said.
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The bacteria that causes meningitis can spread by contact with saliva as well as nose or throat discharges of a person with infection.
Individuals that are infected by asymptomatic carriers are still able to pass on the bacteria. Meanwhile, people who are symptomatic can be contagious until completing 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, the district continued.
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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).
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