Note: The following is an abbreviated version of the message from San Diego Unified School District.
For the full message (including Spanish translation)
Since January of this year, there have been an unusually large number of cases of meningococcal disease (caused by the “meningococcus” bacteria) in Tijuana, Mexico. Most cases have been in children and young adults. Meningococcal disease can result in death if not detected and treated early.
There are no changes in recommendations on travel to Tijuana or Mexico. Individuals traveling there should be aware of the recent reports of meningococcal disease and should promptly seek care for suggestive symptoms.
Here is what you can do to prevent meningococcal disease and to detect it early
- Know the symptoms: fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck, and/or a pinpoint rash that does not blanch under pressure.
- Contact your doctor when these symptoms are present.
- Get the meningococcal vaccine. The vaccine (known to doctors as MCV4) is recommended for all children between the ages of 11 and 18 years. The first dose should be given at age 11 or 12 years. A booster dose can be given at age 16 years. The vaccine is recommended for some adults: those who travel to certain areas where there are very high rates of meningococcal disease (mainly Sub-Saharan Africa), military recruits, college-age students living in dormitories and adults with certain health conditions.
- Use good hygiene. Frequent hand washing is important. Bacteria can be spread through coughing and sneezing. When a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your own elbow or sleeve (NOT into your hand).
- Saliva can spread the infection. Do not share food or beverages. Do not share water bottles, eating utensils, lipstick or lip balm. Adults must not share cigarettes or pipes.
- Travelers. If you are traveling to Tijuana, be aware of the recent reports of meningococcal disease. Promptly seek care for suggestive symptoms.
For reliable information on meningococcal disease, go to the following website:www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/