Trucking company employee succumbs to meningitis

| 7/9/2002

A Pinellas County, FL, man died last week of meningococcal disease, a contagious ailment caused by the same bacteria that produce a more deadly form of meningitis.

Though the name, age and hometown of the man have not been released, Florida station WFTS-Channel 28 reported that he worked at Gulf Central Transportation in south Tampa.

The St. Petersburg Times reported people who had been in close contact with the man - sharing drinks or cigarettes, for example - were treated with antibiotics as a precaution.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include a high fever, headache and a stiff neck and can begin within several hours or one to two days after infection.

In the United States, about one to three cases occur per 100,000 people each year. It is usually treated successfully with antibiotics, but 10 percent to 13 percent of the people who get the disease die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.