Providence schoolteacher diagnosed with meningitis

Doctors in Jacksonville working to determine if it's viral or bacterial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A high school teacher at Providence School of Jacksonville has been hospitalized and diagnosed with viral meningitis, according to a letter sent from the school to parents Thursday.

"The purpose of my letter today is to notify you of our concern and request for prayer for Chris Little," David Patterson, the school leadership team chairman, wrote.

The school said Little was out of work Tuesday and Wednesday, and he thought he had the flu. That is, until he ended up in the hospital and was told he had meningitis.

Doctors determined Friday that Little's case was viral, not bacterial. The school says it's not contagious and is not spread by human contact, and so far no students have reported any symptoms.

"As a precaution, we have contacted the Duval County Health Department and requested their advice on the best course of action in this circumstance," Patterson wrote. "They have assured us that the best course of action at this point is to simply observe for symptoms of illness and approach any signs on an as needed basis."

The Duval County Health Department says everyone should always be on alert for symptoms.

"It can affect children, it can affect adults," said Dr. Bob Harmon, of the Health Department. "The main thing is to be alert for those symptoms, any high fever, bad headache, confusion, definitely contact your physician. If you can't reach a physician, be seen in an emergency room because prompt care is very important."

"I would get all the immunizations up to date," Harmon added. "This kind of meningitis vaccine is recommended for high-risk children, such as those with chronic conditions or immune deficiencies."

Little is expected to be released from the hospital Saturday. Patterson said he will be medically cleared to return to work soon.

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