Fourth person seen at local hospital for meningitis-like symptoms

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CANADIAN COUNTY,Okla. - An Oklahoma school closed after a fourth person went to the hospital with what Union City School officials are calling viral meningitis.

The good news is doctors have ruled out bacterial meningitis, which is the most severe.

The State Health Department says the doctors are still running tests to see whether it might be another virus that mimics the symptoms of meningitis.

All Union City School District parents got the text. It says, “Mr. Carel: School is cancelled Tues. Sept. 23rd & Wed Sept. 24th for precautionary measures due to 3 confirmed cases of meningitis.”

"My grandparents told me, I didn't know squat about it," Joseph Stilley, a Union City High School student says.

The State Health Department is trying to figure out what they're actually dealing with.

"There are multiple viruses that can cause symptoms that are similar including symptoms that may look like meningitis and these are germs that are transmitted to one another and they're ones that we may share from one person to another," Laurence Burnsed, epidemiologist with the state says.

Many parents are wondering what symptoms they should look for.

"Fever, headache, stiff neck, there might be other symptoms such as a rash," Burnsed said.

We spoke with the head baseball coach, Ludy Griggs, who confirms three of his players are hospitalized.

He thinks they were exposed through a catcher's mask they share.

"Some people can indirectly pick up germs from commonly touched surfaces including personal items that might be shared from one person to another," Burnsed said.

The best way to disinfect is to use products registered by the EPA. It will say on the bottle or find a list here. Also check the labels to make sure it says they kill viruses.

"Washing our hands on a regular basis with soap and water or using alcohol based hand gel on a regular basis is a safe measure," Burnsed says.

Because it is a virus, the State Health Department says there is no real way to treat it.

If you have some of the symptoms they mentioned, they suggest visiting your primary care doctor.  If severe, visit the hospital.

Amanda Moran is a meningitis survivor.

She contracted the bacterial form of the illness back in 2003, right before she was set to begin college.

Moran stopped by our studios to talk about the illness and her road to recovery.