By Wayne Allen
August 31, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Conversations at the River Days Festival Saturday and around social media were centered on the news that a local teenager was in Nationwide Children’s Hospital being treated for a possible case of bacterial meningitis. Kalyn Mitchell, according to River Days Pageant organizers, was scheduled to represent Northwest Schools at the Miss River Days Pageant Saturday night.
A Nationwide Children’s Hospital spokesperson said Mitchell was listed in critical condition as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Ruth Montavon, Nursing Director for the Scioto County Health Department would not confirm the name but informed on the case.
“What we’re dealing with a case of suspected bacterial meningitis. Suspected means we do not have the confirmatory labs back yet. I can also tell you, it (bacterial meningitis) is spread through direct contact with saliva,”Montavon said.
When asked about the seriousness of such a diagnosis, Montavon said, “Bacterial meningitis can be very severe.”
She said some local health officials became concerned Saturday about the possibility of this being spread through the River Days Festival. She said there was no possibility of this being spread in that manner.
“When we are following up on any disease, we first talk to the family and ask who were they in direct contact with. Then we describe what direct contact means and for bacterial meningitis means you have had to have come in contact with that person’s saliva,” Montavon said. “The family gave us names, the mom told us what sports the child played and where ever else it could have been spread. I talked to all of those people, educated them about how it was spread. I’ve also been in touch with the school principal and the school nurse and they are helping to contact people who may have been exposed.”
She said those that were exposed are given an antibiotic, to keep them from getting it.
“Those that have been around it and are just worried, we tell them the symptoms. A sudden onset of a fever, nausea, vomiting and headaches. This way if they get one of those, they will not write it off as the flu and will seek treatment,”Montavon said.
She said now that, all of that has been done, “Our prayers are going out to her family for a speedy recovery.”
Montavon said Mitchell started to show symptoms on Thursday. She said the next step is to wait for the lab results to come back to see what the illness really is so she can be treated appropriately and hope there are no other cases.
“We do not know where this case came from, because there has not been a case before her that was connected,” Montavon said.
She said the hospital is hoping to know some results by late Saturday night or at some point on Sunday.
Trish Dingus, River Days Pageant Chairwoman, said a moment of silence and a prayer was held on Mitchell’s behalf during the Miss River Days Pageant Saturday night.