Metro employee diagnosed with viral meningitis
Public encouraged to review symptoms on CDC website and contact their physician if symptoms develop
Metro has taken a bus out of service and is notifying customers about a health concern today in the wake of a bus operator being diagnosed with viral meningitis.
The bus operator's only recent shift was Friday morning, when the operator was assigned to a bus on the 14th Street Line with the following scheduled trips between the hours of 7:13 a.m. and 10:18 a.m.:
The bus has been removed from service until it can be thoroughly sanitized. In addition, as a precaution, Metro will disinfect all 164 buses at Northern Division tonight.
Metro does not believe that the employee had exposure to any other vehicle. Prior to his morning shift Friday, the employee had been on vacation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment. The symptoms of viral meningitis usually last from 7 to 10 days, and people with normal immune systems usually recover completely.
Anyone who exhibits symptoms should contact a physician. The following information is provided from the Centers for Disease Control website:
Viral Meningitis Risk Factors
Viral meningitis can affect anyone. But infants younger than 1 month old and people whose immune systems are weak are at higher risk for severe infection. People who are around someone with viral meningitis have a chance of becoming infected with the virus that made that person sick, but they are not likely to develop meningitis as a complication of the illness.
Factors that can increase your risk of viral meningitis include:
Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis, are most often spread from person to person through fecal contamination (which can occur when changing a diaper or using the toilet and not properly washing hands afterwards). Enteroviruses can also be spread through respiratory secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of an infected person. Other viruses, such as mumps and varicella-zoster virus, may also be spread through direct or indirect contact with saliva, sputum, or mucus of an infected person. Contact with an infected person may increase your chance of becoming infected with the virus that made them sick; however you will have a small chance of developing meningitis as a complication of the illness.
Signs & Symptoms
Meningitis infection is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as
Common symptoms in infants
Common symptoms in adults
The symptoms of viral meningitis usually last from 7 to 10 days, and people with normal immune systems usually recover completely.
People with certain viral infections can sometimes develop meningitis. There are no vaccines for the most common causes of viral meningitis. Thus, the best way to prevent it is to prevent viral infections. However, that can be difficult since sometimes people can be infected with a virus and spread the virus even though they do not appear sick. Following are some steps you can take to help lower your chances of becoming infected with viruses or of passing one on to someone else:
News release issued at 3:38 pm, April 23, 2012.