By Meredith Harvie
" We sent first of all letters to all the parents in the entire school to let them know of what symptoms to look for and what they should do if their child should start exhibiting symptoms," says Cecilia Davidson, Associate Superintendent of Aiken County School District One.
Parents are afraid the disease may spread, but school officials say that not everyone at risk.
"The children that were at most risk were the ones that were in this child's homeroom or rode the bus with this child received a second letter from DHEC giving them more specific directions about what they should do to prevent the spread," says Davidson.
Health officials say the case at Ridge Spring Monetta elementary is rare, but there has been an increase in bacterial meningitis cases in younger children nationwide. Doctors say symptoms of the infection can be hard to detect, but in younger children parents should look for signs such as fever, lethargy, seizures, frequent headaches, and light sensitivity.
Officials aren't sure why younger children are contracting the disease but they do know how it's being spread.
"Things like sharing lipstick or coughing can cause the transmission and many times sharing things like cups and forks and pass it on," says Dr. Gil Potter, a South Carolina DHEC official.
Students at Ridge Spring Monetta continued classes as normal. Doctors recommend anyone who may have been exposed to meningitis to get vaccinated.