Bacterial meningitis: what we need to know

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Bacterial meningitis: what you need to know to protect your family

The recent case of a Lifetime Fitness day camp employee becoming gravely ill contracting bacterial meningitis and possibly exposing more than 200 children at a day camp has many concerned.

The incident has raised many questions about bacterial meningitis including the symptoms and how it's spread

Let's find out a little bit more about bacterial meningitis and how nervous should we be about this. This is Dr. Catherine Reyes, infectious disease specialist from Henry Ford Health System.

FOX 2: "Doctor what is bacterial meningitis what's going on inside in your body?"

"Bacteria is a germ, meningitis is an infection, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord," Dr. Reyes said. "This is rare but severe and can be a deadly disease.

FOX 2: "How long does it take for symptoms to show up if you are exposed and what are the symptoms?"

"The meningococcal disease within three to seven days of having been exposed," Reyes said. "Red flag symptoms - sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion and sudden sensitivity to light."

FOX 2: "Let's talk about the risk. You have to be in very close contact to spread this between people. It's not airborne, right?"

"It is not airborne it is spread via contact with secretions from your mouth, kissing, coughing, are ways of getting the disease," she said.

FOX 2: "How close do you have to be in case of a cough?"

"The definition is close such as living in the same home, roommates or kissing," Reyes said.

FOX 2: "What is the treatment and how treatable is bacterial meningitis? We know it's much more serious than viral meningitis."

"We have effective medications available for it but the key is early diagnosis and early treatment (of antibiotics)."

If you notice any of those symptoms the port thing is to get to a doctor they can do a blood test  and they can do a CT scan or eventually a spinal tap to figure out if it is a case of meningitis.

For more information for parents or staff members connected to the Lifetime Fitness incident who have any questions can contact Oakland County’s Nurse on Call from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at 800-848-5533 or For more information about bacterial meningitis, go to