Meningitis outbreak sickens toddlers at Carson day care |

Meningitis outbreak sickens toddlers at Carson day care

Jill Lufrano, Appeal Staff Writer

A Carson City day-care center is undergoing a health investigation after five children in its care contracted viral meningitis over the weekend.

Parents and day-care workers at all 31 day-care facilities in Carson were sent letters Monday warning them of the outbreak.

“What we’re recommending is, if any kiddies have any symptoms, they should stay home and be taken to their local family practice physician,” said Carson-Tahoe Hospital spokesman Richard Linkul.

Health officials talked with Sierra Vista Children’s Academy owner Lynn Wagner and director Wendy Van Worth. Van Worth referred media calls to Carson health officials Tuesday and would not comment.

Five children between ages 2 and 3 were admitted to to the hospital’s pediatric unit beginning Thursday. Two of the children remained hospitalized Tuesday.

A hospital staff member who had possibly came into contact with the children is also hospitalized after being diagnosed with meningitis, Linkul said.

No new outbreaks had been reported by Tuesday afternoon.

Parents are asked to monitor their children for signs of aseptic meningitis, which can include dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fever and body aches, Linkul said.

Meningitis causes inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. The Carson children contracted the most common type, which is caused by an infection with one of several types of viruses, according to the National Center of Infectious Diseases.

The symptoms usually last from seven to 10 days then the person recovers completely, according to the center.

Once isolated, infected children are treated for dehydration, pain and given strong antibiotics.

After the first child was admitted Thursday, the hospital contacted state health officials. The Carson City Environmental Health Department was asked to investigate the care center.

It is uncertain how or when the virus was introduced. Carson public health specialist Dustin Boothe said the investigation is ongoing. No official walk-through investigation has been performed, he said.

“No true inspection was done,” Boothe said. “Everything is ongoing. We’re continually dealing with stuff on a daily basis.”

Officials say the outbreak is unusual for the area. No other cases have been reported in the region, Linkul said.

“As far as I know, we haven’t had anything like this before,” Boothe said.

Sierra Vista Children’s Academy on East Telegraph Street was opened in 1996, and is licensed to provide full-time care for 87 children.