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To expect a parent to inform the nursery that their child has viral meningitis?

18 replies

dejags · 07/03/2007 10:46

DS2 (2.5) goes to nursery in the mornings. One of this little friends has recently been very ill - she was in hospital for a week.

Turns out that the poor little girl had a nasty bout of viral meningitis. Her mother didn't tell the nursery which I think is quite irresponsible.

I know that viral meningitis isn't treatable with antibiotics, but parents should be kept informed to keep a close eye on their own children/themselves.

We have a suspicion that DS2 has had it mildly and that DH has had it too. I am 29 weeks pregnant and would love to have been informed

DS will be seeing a Paediatrician for a checkup tomorrow and I will hold thumbs that I don't get it.

The nursery are very upset that they weren't told as they feel they should have had the opportunity to inform the parents. The mother obviously doesn't.


OP posts:

brimfull · 07/03/2007 10:49

I would have presumed the hospital would have procdures about informing people who had been in contact with the child.Perhaps a call to the meningitis helpline would help.


brimfull · 07/03/2007 10:50

meningitis trust


paulaplumpbottom · 07/03/2007 10:51

I would have thought its was the hospital who should have informed someone. I do think the Mom should have called but her child has been in the hospital so maybe give her a bit of a break.


knittingfog · 07/03/2007 10:52

No you're not being unreasonable at all !

The child's mother should have informed the nursery so that they could warn other parents and distribute information about the symptoms to look out for.

However, maybe the mother was unable to think clearly as she must have been extremely worried about her daughter.


expatinscotland · 07/03/2007 10:52

Our nursery has had one student contract whooping cough and it was posted on the bulletin board on the door.


dejags · 07/03/2007 10:52

Thanks ggirl. I think, as it's viral (i.e. less serious than bacterial) that there is no set procedure.

We are in South Africa, so things like this are taken a little less seriously than in Europe.

But I still cannot fathom a parent who would knowingly not tell the nursery about a potentially serious disease.

OP posts:

raspberryberet · 07/03/2007 10:52

Presumably the parents have been at the hospital with their child and have been worried sick, so maybe, just maybe, they have had other things on their minds.


dejags · 07/03/2007 10:55

In the Mum's defence, she still sounded very agitated about the whole thing today and her DD is no longer in hospital. Surely she could have asked a relative/friend to ring the nursery though?

If it turns out that DS2 does have it I will definitely be letting my older child's school know.

One thing I cannot find out for certain is, if v. meningitis is actually contagious - lots of conflicting info on the net. So may all be a storm in a teacup if not.

OP posts:

whitechocolate · 07/03/2007 10:59

The parents were probably besides themselves with worry but it seems odd that the hospital or your doctor didn't inform any relevant bodies. In the UK, I think any 'reportable' illnesses are notified to the local council and they take any necessary action to warn any potentially affected parties. It is probably different in SA though.


Aloha · 07/03/2007 11:02

But viral menigitis is not infectious. It is, as I understand it, a complication of another viral infection, such as herpes (cold sore) or a virus that lives in the intestines. According to the Meningitis Trust being in contact with someone with virus meningitis does NOT increase your chances of catching it.


dejags · 07/03/2007 11:08

Thanks Aloha, I was wondering about that. Paed's Practice Sister says it definitely contagious. What I read on the WWW is that it's not - other than in the form of carrier viruses.

Just had the nursery on the phone - it seems that the Granny did call them but she told the nursery that the little girl had Laryngitis.

Not serious - I hope.

OP posts:

frogs · 07/03/2007 11:19

Could be worse, dejags -- a child at my dc's school was diagnosed with active TB over the summer holidays, and the parents sent the child back to school in September without bothering to inform anyone. The school found out in November, at which point all the class concerned and the teacher had to go for chest X-rays. + [how can anyone be so thick emoticon]


dejags · 07/03/2007 11:24


That's incredible. Did the children need skin prick test and the vaccination?

OP posts:

frogs · 07/03/2007 16:18

I think they were sent for chest X-rays. Mercifully it wasn't any of my children's classes that were affected. And apparently child-to-child transmission of TB is quite rare. But still staggeringly .


filthymindedvixen · 07/03/2007 16:26

A person with viral meningitis may pass on the virus, but this would be unlikely to cause another person to develop viral meningitis.

It is extremely rare for viral meningitis to be life threatening.

meninigits research foundation


blondehelen · 07/03/2007 16:27

meningitis is inflammation of the meninges (sp) in the brain. The child may have been contagious with the virus but not the meningitis. You can catch the virus and not get the meningitis as a complication IYSWIM.


Jimjams2 · 07/03/2007 16:29

Viral meningitis is a complicaiton of another viral infection (commonly after mumps for example)- not infectious as a condition itself- oh see others have already said that. So no, not irresponsible, it's not notifiable. Perhaps a get well card for the little girl might be apppreciated?


mears · 07/03/2007 16:36

When my DS had meningitis at 6 months I was quite upset that other parents were concerned about their children when there was no actual risk. My concern at the time was that my DS was seriously ill with pneumococcal meningitis which is not contageous. I felt I was 'unclean' and should ring a bell when I was in the vicinity of other parents. I think it is just the word 'meningitis' strikes fear into everyone.

Had there been an infection risk, the public health department would have been in touch which happens with meningococcal meningitis. It is the same with viral - there is no great public risk.

I understand your concern but when your child is ill you don't think beyond that. Perhaps the mother did tell the nursery but that information did not need to be relayed to other parents because there was no risk IYSWIM?

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