Community Health Notifications

We work with public health organizations to communicate public health concerns in our community. This page will provide updates of confirmed cases of communicable disease and instructions for families.

Current Health Alerts

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January 17, 2018

This message is to inform families that on Sunday, January 14, 2018, a Linus Pauling student was hospitalized with a confirmed case of meningococcal disease. As of this morning, the student is recovering.  Local health officials are investigating this case thoroughly with the support of the Corvallis School District and state health officials.

The Benton County Health Department is working with medical providers, family, and the school district to identify anyone who may have had enough close exposure to need preventive treatment.

Benton County Health Department has asked us to share the following information with Linus Pauling families:

  • Customarily individuals who have spent at least four hours cumulatively in close, face-to-face association with a person suffering from meningococcal disease within seven days before the illness started are at highest risk of catching meningococcal disease.
  • While this information can be concerning, please remember that meningococcal disease in not highly contagious. At this time, the investigation has found no epidemiological link to the meningococcal disease outbreak at OSU but the investigation is still ongoing.
  • Symptoms specific to this disease are sudden onset of a high fever, headache, exhaustion, nausea, rash, stiff neck, vomiting and diarrhea. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek urgent, same day evaluation at your child’s physician’s office or an urgent care medical clinic or emergency room.
  • The disease is transmitted through direct contact with droplets from coughing or sneezing; kissing or contact with mucus or saliva from an ill person’s nose or throat; or by sharing of eating and drinking utensils or vaping and smoking devices. In the course of the investigation, health officials will identify individuals who were in close contact with the ill person and, if warranted, give them preventive antibiotic treatment.
  • It is important to make sure that your child is up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations, including the recommended age-appropriate meningococcal vaccine, especially during flu season and with the upcoming school exclusion deadline in February.

Frequently Asked Questions at the following link: https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/le0665b.pdf

More information is available on the Oregon Health Authority website at: http://healthoregon.org/mening

If you have additional questions about meningococcal disease please contact the Benton County Communicable Disease Nurse at 541-766-6835.

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December 5, 2017
Oregon State University recently shared an urgent message with student families that another undergraduate student attending Oregon State University in Corvallis is being treated for meningococcal disease. This is the fifth OSU student to be treated for meningococcal disease in the past year. While extremely serious, meningococcal disease is not highly contagious and is transmitted through direct contact with droplets from an ill person coughing or sneezing; other discharges from the nose or throat; or by sharing of eating and drinking utensils, smoking devices; or intimate contact.

Health officials encourage everyone to monitor their own health and note the following symptoms specific to this disease: high fever, a rash, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea or vomiting. If these symptoms develop, seek prompt medical evaluation.

Please be aware that while meningococcal disease is uncommon, it is a serious disease. In 10 to 15 percent of all cases, death may result. In 20 percent of cases, hearing loss, mental impairment and limb loss can result. Those at highest risk include students age 25 and younger who live in residence halls and in private cooperative group living units, or are members of – or visit – fraternal living groups associated with the university.

Risk is defined as those who had at least four hours cumulatively in close, face-to-face association. Roommates, intimate partners, and those who shared eating or drinking utensils with the ill person within 7 days before the illness started are at risk. Classroom exposure and those who have had only casual social contact are generally not at risk.

Due to the current Meningococcal B outbreak at Oregon State University, Meningococcal B vaccine is now required for new students enrolling at Oregon State University. This is a different vaccine than the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine most teens receive starting at age 11 years.

High school juniors and seniors planning to attend OSU may want to consider starting the Meningococcal B vaccine series now (2 or 3 doses are required depending on the brand used). High school students who are currently attending classes at OSU or attending social gatherings with OSU students should talk to their health care providers about Meningococcal B vaccination.

If you have questions, please talk to your health care provider for more information about Meningococcal B vaccination.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the Oregon Public Health Division website or the Benton County Public Health website.