Meningitis Scare for Region 8 School

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- A Region 8 school has teachers, students and workers being tested for meningitis after they were possibly exposed to the disease.  The Learning Center in Jonesboro has been working with the Craighead County Health Department to verify and notify those who may have come into contact.

The Learning Center Director of Services Barbara Pitcock didn't want to talk with Region 8 News on camera but she did say that it was reported to them that a child has a possible diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis.

Terresa Lewis says she found out from the school through a voicemail on her phone Thursday night that her two-year-old son Markese might have been exposed to the sometimes deadly illness.

"Yea it scared me, it scared me. I was ready to take him to the hospital as soon as I heard but I was at work," said Lewis.

After doing her own research on-line about the disease, Lewis says she wasn't any more reassured.

"It made me panic really.  Brain loss is some of the symptoms; very life threatening is what I caught out of it. My baby's life is at risk you know," said Lewis.

Lewis took her son for a preventive antibiotic injection on Friday and while he is fine, she doesn't know yet if she will send him back to The Learning Center.

"I know it has nothing to do with the school or anything on purpose, but you still the thought of your child going through something like that is scary," said Lewis.

The meningitis scare did not close the learning center, they were open on Friday and Pitcock says they plan to be open on Monday as well.

According to the National Meningitis Association, the infection strikes nearly 3,000 Americans each year, and 10 to 12 percent of those infected will die.