Parents concerned after toddler dies from likely bacterial infection

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — A Rhode Island toddler is dead from what officials think was a highly contagious bacterial infection. Kids often touch the same things, so there are precautions that need to be taken.

“Really it just concerns me about the sanitation,” said Joe Varella of New London.

“What I try to have her come up with is always wash your hands, use sanitizer, stuff like that,” he continued. “Just to be safe because you don’t know all the diseases, especially with little kids.”

Unlike a cold, it’s not easy to catch Meningococcus, spread by droplets.

“There are secretions from your nose or your mouth. You have to be in very close contact with someone to actually contract the illness,” said Backus Hospital’s Dr. William Horgan.

But once a person gets the infection, it is aggressive. Within four hours you can see signs, like a headache, stiff neck, fever, rash, and sometimes seizures.

“Especially with rash and a fever are very concerning, and you want them to seek medical care immediately,” said Dr. Horgan.

Meningitis can be treated with antibiotics, which are also being given to other children at the Rhode Island daycare as a precaution. To protect your kids from being infected, you should have them wash their hands regularly, don’t share utensils or cups, and get the recommended vaccinations.

“Not to say that it’s a 100-percent guarantee, because some kids, even with their vaccines, do get them, but you’ve got a much better chance avoiding things like meiningitis with that,” said nurse Susan Dibb.

Health officials in Rhode Island say that there is no threat to any other children at that center, which could put many parents at ease both there and in Connecticut.

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