Bus Driver Dies from Meningitis

POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009 - 7:38pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm

Some Livingston Parish parents are on edge after reports that a public school bus driver died from meningitis. The driver died last week and our Lauren Unger sorts out the facts about meningitis. The most important thing for parents to know is that public health officials say in this case, there is no danger of children contracting the disease from the driver.

It is scary news for parents; a school bus driver was taken to the hospital shortly after driving elementary school students in Livingston. That driver later died of meningitis. Pediatrician Dr. Brannon Perilloux has already received calls from concerned parents. “We had a mother call this morning and ask us about meningitis.” In this case, health officials say the disease turned out to be a type of bacterial meningitis that poses no threat to students.

But that’s not always the case. Just last month a Bienville Parish school had four confirmed cases of meningitis. State health officials gave out free shots and antibiotics, putting things under control within days of the breakout.

Although officials say in this case children were at no risk of contracting the disease meningitis, it’s an important reminder of how serious the disease can be and what parents can do to prevent it. “It’s a dangerous disease. It can be detrimental; it can be debilitating and even deadly.”

For one of the most serious forms of meningitis, there is a vaccination available. Starting next year all students over the age of 11 will be required to have the shot if they want to attend school in Louisiana. “It’s a very safe vaccine and very effective at preventing the disease.”

It is an important step in the fight against a deadly disease. Up until this point, many pediatricians have recommended that students get the vaccine. The new law was passed last year. Again, it takes affect for all 11 year olds entering the 6th grade this coming fall.