A 2-year-old girl has become the second child in this small southwestern Washington town to come down with meningococcal disease this month.
The girl, who was admitted to St. John Medical Center Thursday and developed a rash, returned home with her parents Sunday.
Doctors initially thought she had chicken pox, said Dr. Tom Bell, health officer for Cowlitz and Lewis counties. However, results of a blood culture confirmed Saturday that the girl had meningococcemia.
Bell said it’s too early to determine if her case is linked to 8-year-old Mariah Canter, the Toledo girl who battled the disease for about a week at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.
She has since recovered.
Bell said he didn’t know if they two girls ever came in contact with each other.
Like a cold, meningococcemia is spread through fine respiratory droplets that people exhale. Symptoms include rapid flu-like symptoms, nausea, high temperature and red spots.
Meningococcemia is more serious than its cousin, meningitis, an inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
Meningococcal disease usually strikes one person a year out of every 100,000 population. But for the past four years, southwestern Washington has had nine or 10 cases per 100,000 population annually, Bell said.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.