Originally created 03/05/02

School reassures on meningitis



AIKEN - Redcliffe Elementary School operated as usual Monday, school officials said, while a kindergarten pupil remained hospitalized with a suspected case of meningitis.

Three of the 5-year-old boy's 17 classmates were absent Monday, and school officials blamed the flu and cold season, not meningitis.

A 48-hour culture was given to the boy last weekend, according to Elizabeth Purvis, the director of Health Education Services for the Aiken County School District.

As of late Monday, the Department of Health and Environmental Control was waiting for the test results.

Dr. Purvis said health officials are not sure when the final report will be made available.

"Apparently they are trying to isolate what it is," she said.

"It's always scary when we don't know all the details," Principal Teresa Pope said. "I'm relatively sure the situation is under control and he's going to be fine."

Parents of the boy's classmates received letters and phone calls from school officials Friday advising them to contact their physicians.

"I think the parents, the public and certainly the staff at the school have handled this situation remarkably well," said Bill Gallman, the deputy superintendent for Aiken County schools. "The parents demonstrated confidence in the school and were appreciative of the letters and personal calls."

Dr. Pope said she did not consider the three absences an unusually high number.

Reach Carly Phillips at (803) 648-1395 or carly.phillips@augustachronicle.com.