Man Believes He Was Exposed to Meningitis in Madera

February 24, 2009 7:36:52 PM PST
A North Valley man is angry, after he says he unknowingly sat in a waiting room with dozens of people who may have been exposed to meningitis.Madera resident Josh Crisler was already frustrated when he had to wait more than two hours at this Madera County Health Clinic to get an x-ray. But he was even more upset when he heard he spent the last several hours waiting with more than forty people who were exposed to a woman who died from bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly disease that infects the spinal cord.

Josh Crisler said, "As far as I know nobody came up positive for it but I just don't think that they handled it properly I mean no precautions were taken whatsoever."

The Madera County Health Director confirmed a 59-year old Madera woman died from bacterial meningitis last Sunday. More than forty of her family members who were in contact with the woman were sent to the clinic.

Madera County Health officials didn't test any of the family members for meningitis because they weren't showing any of the symptoms they did give each family member an antibiotic to prevent them from getting the meningitis infection.

Madera Co. Health Director Carol Barney said, "People that are exposed to meningitis doesn't necessarily mean they're going to get it ever or have it."

Barney says the antibiotic given to the family members prevented them from infecting others. Crisler says, either way, the family should have been quarantined as a precaution.

"There had to be at least 15-20 kids in there playing musical chairs I mean you get up and three kids sit in your chair and you sit back down they were all over the place," said Crisler.

"The people were not ill so if they were not ill they were not spreading the disease," said Barney.

Health officials say it can take up to 10 days for a person to show symptoms of meningitis but they believe clinic workers acted appropriately.

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