Recent meningitis deaths should keep residents alert

Meningitis hits Tallahassee again. Everyone is still feeling the effects of the loss of Florida A&M University student Courtney Simms. Nearly two weeks later, another person has fallen victim to the disease.

Lawson Mayfield was diagnosed with bacterial spinal meningitis on Monday. She was a recent graduate from Maclay School, which is a college preparatory school. She had been accepted to the University of Central Florida, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. She loved horseback riding and was involved with the fall circuit of hunter-jumper competitions.

With the recent outbursts of influenza, H1N1 and now meningitis, it is absolutely imperative for people to be cognizant and cautious of what’s in the air surrounding them. According to the Leon County Health Department, there are several different types of meningitis and the most recent case stemmed from a germ that many people often carry. The bacterium that triggered germ can also cause ear infection, sinus infection and even pneumonia.

If anyone has symptoms from those illnesses, the person should not hesitate to go to the doctor. A lot of people underestimate certain indications. Some think drinking a cold drink or over-the-counter medicine will help, but it won’t. It is critical to get professionally examined. Don’t take what seems like a mild cold lightly. The symptoms may transform into a severe illness.

In 2007, only one case of meningitis reported in Tallahassee. Two cases have hit the county within the last couple of weeks alone. And let’s not even mention the hundreds of swine flu cases that have dominated both FSU and FAMU campuses.

Residents in Tallahassee, please check to see if your medical shots have been updated. It can happen to you. Be smart. Be aware. But most importantly, be realistic.