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Macon County Public Health Confirms Neisseria Meningitidis Outbreak

MACON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH·WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019

:::Update from the Macon County Public Health Department:

Neisseria Meningitidis Cases – the confirmed case and suspected case are adult individuals.

Macon County Public Health (MCPH) has confirmed an outbreak of meningitis. Two deaths have occurred in the last three weeks; one is confirmed to have been caused by Neisseria meningitidis. A second death suspected to be linked to Neisseria meningitidis is under investigation.

At this time, and on the advice of state and local health department officials, preventive antibiotics are being provided to individuals known to have come in close contact with individuals infected with the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria.

Due to privacy laws we cannot disclose personal information related to any cases.

Meningococcal disease is a disease caused by a kind of bacteria known as Neisseria meningitidis. These bacteria can sometimes cause infection of the bloodstream, meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and other serious illnesses.

Symptoms may include the following: sudden onset of fever, severe headache, rash, stiff neck, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting. The disease progresses quickly and can be deadly.

Meningococcal is spread by direct contact with saliva such as through sharing eating utensils, foods, cigarettes and other smoking devices, kissing and providing unprotected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. People do not catch this disease through casual contact, or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been.

As a prevention effort, children are required to receive Meningococcal vaccination at 11, 12, and 17 years of age. Adults and children should also wash their hands or use waterless, alcohol-based hand cleanser after touching their face. People should avoid sharing eating utensils, drinking cups or anything that would help the spread of nose and throat fluids.

Macon County Public Health will continue to work with the NC Division of Public Health to help contain the outbreak. The group will work with local area health care providers, first responders, funeral homes personnel, and other community groups.

If you are experiencing any symptoms, please go directly to the emergency room. If you have any questions, or think you may have been in contact with an infected individual, please call the health department at 349-2517.

 

School Nutrition Online Payments Now Available

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STEM article by The Franklin Press – Sept. 30

Any child who remembers watching Sesame Street on PBS will inevitably remember the “word of the day” segment. Throughout the program, characters would work the word of the day into casual conversation always taking an extra pause for emphasis to show how the word was being used.

If Sesame Street were located in Macon County, the word of the day would definitely be STEM.

No, not the green stalk that holds a plant upright.

No, not the center timber of a ship’s bow.

The STEM that has been on the minds of so many in Macon County is actually an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. During the past week, both the Macon County Board of Education and the Economic Development Commission have discussed the four principals of STEM education.

The impetus for the STEM talk is a potential Golden Leaf Foundation grant that would get a STEM program started in earnest inside Macon County Schools. On Thursday, the EDC voted unanimously to support the grant application as well as a partnership between Macon County, Jackson County and Southwestern Community College.

Grant funds would cover a new STEM coordinator position within the school system as well as the necessary equipment needed to get students interested in the course work. STEM programs often center on robotics, industrial arts and computer technology. STEM students often go on to careers in engineering, computer programing, manufacturing and design.

On Monday night, the Macon County Board of Education discussed the potential Golden Leaf grants and it was superintendent Chris Baldwin that stressed the importance of getting a full-scale STEM program off the ground.

Baldwin highlighted the importance of getting parents on board with STEM education and how administrators could reach out to the community by showing all of the positive attributes of STEM classes. He noted that STEM students not only traditionally improve drastically in math and science, but also learn life skills such as teamwork and public speaking.

Perhaps most importantly, Baldwin emphasized the local economy and the jobs that a STEM education opens up to students. A point that belied words spoken four days earlier by John Edgemon of Franklin Tubular, who informed EDC members that his company along with several other manufacturing and technology companies like Drake Enterprises, TechTone and DuoTech are going to need an influx of qualified employees over the next five years.

Edgemon intimated that Macon County’s major employers would love to hire locally and keep our best and brightest minds in-house if a qualified workforce is available in the near future.

That statement should be the final retort in any argument over whether or not Macon County needs a STEM program. It is obvious that we do.

Macon County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have questions or concerns regarding the accessibility of the website or if you are unable to access a page or document on the website, you may contact the Technology Department via email at mcsadmin@macon.k12.nc.us.