Bacterial infection warning at Evanston school

May 4, 2011 9:49:37 AM PDT
Health officials are warning students at a school in Evanston about a bacterial infection after a student became ill over the weekend.

Officials at Evanston Township High School say the bacteria creates an infection that is highly contagious, and students, teachers and staff are being told to take precautions.

Students are being told to be extra careful in school. They are washing their hands more and not getting close to others.

A warning went out about a bacterial infection, but not all Evanston Township High School parents knew about the threat Wednesday morning.

"My teacher told me about it yesterday," said Evanston Township student Amanda Gallimore. "I was just scared about what would happen to me."

The school sent a health department letter out over the weekend and a warning was posted on the Evanston Township High School's website.

A student at the school was recently diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Kids could catch it by kissing, or by sharing eating utensils or beverage containers.

Evanston health officials are reminding students and parents to wash their hands and not get close to others.

"I'll probably use a hand sanitizer during the passing period, wash my hands every time I go to the bathroom, stay away from someone who looks sick or is not doing what they should do," said student Ben Lefton.

"We have had a big family event this weekend and still have guests from out of town, so I heard about bin Laden and that's about all the news I've heard this week," said Evanston Township parent Susan Bearman.

Bearman is not the only one. Other students and parents ABC7 talked to didn't know about the health concern and had not yet gotten the letter or seen the website.

Parent Tom Doan wishes there would have been a automated call or an e-mail blast.

"We don't check the website on a regular basis anyway, so that would be a very passive way to handle it," Doan said.

The signs and symptoms of this infection include:

  • A sudden onset of high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and a rash.
  • Sensitivity to light, sleepiness and confusion may also occur.
  • They could develop quickly or within a few days.

The school is referring all official questions to the Evanston Health Department. They would not say why an automated call was not made.

The health department so far has said this is a bacterial infection. The department is not saying what kind of bacterial infection.