Health Information and Updates
Viral Meningitis

Fact Sheet

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a swelling of the meninges, the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.  Viral meningitis, the most common type of aseptic meningitis, is caused by an infection with one of several types of viruses.  Meningitis can also be caused by infections with several types of bacteria or fungi.  Viral meningitis is usually less severe than bacterial meningitis.

What causes viral meningitis?

There are many types of viral infections that can cause viral meningitis.  Most cases in the U.S. are caused by enteroviruses, a group of common intestinal viruses.  Other viral infections that can lead to meningitis are mumps, herpes virus infections, and influenza.  Arboviruses, which are spread by mosquitoes and other insects, can also cause illness that leads to viral meningitis.

How is meningitis spread?

Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis are typically spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions (saliva and mucus).  This usually happens by kissing or shaking hands with a person who is ill or touching something they handled, and then rubbing your own nose, eyes, or mouth.  The virus can be found in the stool of persons who are infected.  The virus can also be spread among children who are not toilet trained, or among adults changing the diapers of a child who is ill.

The time from when a person is exposed until they develop symptoms (incubation period) is usually between 3 and 7 days for enterviruses.  You can usually spread the virus to someone else beginning about 3 days after infection until the symptoms go away.  Young children and people with weakened immune systems may spread the infection after symptoms resolve.

What are the signs and symptoms of viral meningitis?

The symptoms of meningitis may not be the same for every person.  Common symptoms are high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.  In babies, the symptoms are more difficult to identify and may include fever, irritability, lack of appetite and difficulty waking the infant up.

How will I know if I have viral meningitis?

Viral meningitis is diagnosed by laboratory tests of spinal fluid taken from a spinal tap.  The tests show if a person is infected and whether they are infected with a virus, bacteria, or fungus.

How is viral meningitis treated?

There is not specific treatment for viral meningitis.  Most patients recover completely on their own within 7 to 10 days.  Healthcare providers often will recommend bed rest, plenty of fluids, and medicine to relieve fever an headache.

How can I prevent viral meningitis?

Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of viruses, including the ones that cause viral meningitis.

  Wash hands often wit soap and water.

  Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and throw away used tissues.

  Avoid sharing straws, cups, water bottles, and eating utensils.

  Disinfect contaminated surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs and countertops, by using a diluted bleach solution (made by mixing ¼ cup household bleach with 1 gallon water).

  If you are taking care of someone with viral meningitis wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning the bathroom, helping with toileting, changing diapers or handling soiled clothing or bed linens.

What about work and daycare?

A person with viral meningitis may return to work or daycare when they have recovered.  There are no special recommendations for exclusion from work or daycare.

How common is viral meningitis?

Viral meningitis is a common disease and appears most frequently in the late summer and early fall.  Most people with viral meningitis will recover fully within a week.  It appears most commonly in infants less than one year but can affect persons at any age.

Fore more information contact your healthcare provider or local health center.  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

There has been some discussion throughout our community about what exactly TB is and the difference between latent TB and Active TB (TB disease).  As a nurse within our district I wanted to share some information with you that may shed some light on the two conditions and hopefully help answer some questions you may have.

What is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. TB is spread through the air from one person to another. A person can get TB by inhaling TB bacteria that have been released into the air by a person with active TB. When a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets containing the TB bacteria are released into the air.  People with active TB disease are not equally infectious. Generally it is only people with TB of the throat or lungs who are infectious. However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease.
What is Latent TB Infection?

Persons with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. They are infected with M. tuberculosis, but do not have TB disease. The only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or TB blood test. Persons with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others.  Overall, without treatment, about 5 to 10% of infected persons will develop TB disease at some time in their lives. About half of those people who develop TB will do so within the first two years of infection. There are though some people who are known to have a higher risk of progressing from latent TB to active TB disease.  These include: 

  • Infants and children aged less than 4 years,

  • People infected within the previous two years,

  • People infected with HIV

  • People who have certain clinical conditions, or conditions which compromise their immune system, such as people with diabetes, and people with chronic renal failure.

What is TB Disease or “Active TB”?

Recommended Textbooks for Public DisplayIn some people, TB bacteria overcome the defenses of the immune system and begin to multiply, resulting in the progression from latent TB infection to TB disease. Some people develop TB disease soon after infection, while others develop TB disease later when their immune system becomes weak.

The general symptoms of TB disease include:

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Night sweats

  • FeverRecommended Textbooks for Public Display

  • Fatigue

  • Chills

The symptoms of TB of the lungs include:

  • Coughing for 3 weeks or longer

  • Coughing up blood

  • Chest pain


Other symptoms depend on the part of the body that is affected. 
Persons with TB disease are considered infectious and may spread TB bacteria to others. If TB disease is suspected, persons should be referred for a complete medical evaluation.

If it is determined that a person has TB disease, therapy is given to treat it. TB disease is a serious condition and can lead to death if not treated.
Hopefully this will shine some light on any questions you may have; however if you have further questions please feel free to contact the heath team @ 769-1000..

Kelly McNeal, LVN

PRJUSD Site Nurse

New Personal Belief Exemption Form for Childhood Vaccination to Encourage Health Education

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) made available the Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) form parents or guardians are required to use to exempt their children from childhood vaccinations as required by a new state law that takes effect January 1, 2014. 

The PBE form must be signed by both a health care professional and a parent or guardian when seeking an exemption from required vaccinations. The new form also allows for a religious exemption if the family’s religion does not permit members to get medical advice or treatment from a health care practitioner.

For more information and a copy of the PBE form please visit

7th Grade Immunization Requirement

All students entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade will need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization (called Tdap) for school in the fall.  

This new school immunization law affects all students in public and private schools.

Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be server and last for months.  The immunity received from either early childhood immunizations or pertussis disease wears off over time, leaving older student and adults susceptible again to pertussis.  Immunizations with Tdap can protect students, schools and communities against pertussis.

For more information visit

January 2014
H1N1 Flu Virus Once Again a Threat to Health

The H1N1 flu virus is once again a threat to the health of families in our county.  Even though there are no reported cases within Paso Robles Schools, we'd like to remind all parents, students and staff, to practice good habits such as washing hands before eating, covering their cough, and not sending students to school with a fever. We also encourage everyone to have a flu shot. For local flu shot clinic information please contact the local public heath department at 805-237-3050.

You may seek additional information and prevention tips
by clicking here, or visiting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at;

Jason Taylor,  H1N1 Coordinator,
Paso Robles Public Schools

Free Flu Vaccine Clinic- 2014

The Public Health Department is hosting a free Flu Mist Vaccine Clinic for Paso Robles students and parents. The clinic dates and times are below:

November 5th at Georgia Brown from 1:30-3:30 pm

November 19th at Virginia Peterson from 1:30-3:30 pm

Each clinic will have 150 Flu Mist vaccines and 25 Flu injection vaccines.  The priority will be to vaccinate children, parents will be provided vaccination if there are remaining doses.

Students district wide are welcome to participate in this free clinic. All students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.