Parents warned of student case of meningococcal bacteria in Carlsbad


A kindergarten student who attends Poinsettia Elementary School in the Carlsbad Unified School District is suspected of infection with bacteria known to cause serious illness in children and adolescents, according to officials with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The meningococcal bacteria can infect the blood and cause inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and the spinal cord.

The student’s last day at school was January 30. The time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms is usually three to four days, with a range of two to 10 days. It has been over 10 days since the exposure at the school and no symptoms have been reported in other children. As a result, HHSA is not recommending preventive antibiotics to children at the school, but urges all parents to make sure that their children have received the appropriate vaccination against this disease.

“Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the ill person. Based on this student’s attendance dates, there is an extremely low risk of infections for anyone at the school,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County Public Health Officer. “Parents should, however, be alert for any signs of infection and meningitis in their children caused by the meningococcal bacteria.”

Symptoms may include fever, intense headache, stiff neck, and/or rash that does not blanch under pressure. If your child develops any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider or emergency room to arrange for an evaluation for possible meningococcal disease, as this infection is very serious and contagious.

A vaccine is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease and is recommended for high-risk children and routinely for adolescents 11 to 18 years old. To find out more information about this vaccine-preventable disease, please go to