A letter was recently sent home to parents of Hico ISD students in regards to an elementary student who was diagnosed with viral meningitis assuring parents that classrooms, common areas and playground equipment were disinfected over the Labor Day weekend.

“While this can be upsetting, the chance of your child also becoming ill with this disease is very small,” the letter from Jon Hartgraves, Hico superintendent, reads. “Viral meningitis is not the same as bacterial meningitis. People who get viral meningitis usually recover completely with rest and fever-reducing medicine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website, viral meningitis - an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord - is the most common type and is often less severe than bacterial meningitis.

“Only a small number of people who get infected with the viruses that cause meningitis will actually develop meningitis,” the website reads.

Symptoms of viral (aseptic) meningitis are:

Headache Neck stiffness Sensitivity to light Increased sleepiness Unresponsiveness Fever Nausea, vomiting Lack of appetite “Students are encouraged to wash their hands regularly and stay home if they show any symptoms,” the letter states. “According to the Texas Administrative Code, children with viral, or aseptic meningitis, should be kept out of school until they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever suppressing medications.”

Viral meningitis isn’t common and in fact, from 2007-12 the Texas Department of State Health Services had only showed there to be one case of viral meningitis in Hamilton County, with seven cases during that same timeframe in Erath County. Both counties recorded zero cases in 2012.