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School Health Reference Guide


The Region of Peel School Health Reference Guide is a supplementary resource to relevant Peel and Dufferin-Peel school board policies. Refer to school board policy first if you have questions or concerns.

Childhood Diseases and Illnesses

  • Caused by both bacteria and viruses.
  • An infection of the membranes and fluid covering the brain and spinal cord.
  • Symptoms have a rapid onset and severity. They include: fever, headache, stiff neck (unwillingness to move head up and down), nausea, vomiting, sometimes a rash, confusion, irritability and drowsiness.
  • Viral meningitis:
    • Is usually mild and less serious. The virus is found in the feces and respiratory discharges.
    • Complications are rare and most people get better on their own. Antibiotics are not useful in treating or preventing viral meningitis.
    • A person may be admitted to hospital for observation and a spinal tap to rule out bacterial meningitis.
  • Bacterial meningitis:
    • Is more severe
    • The three most common bacteria to cause this are Haemophilus influenza B, Neisseria meningitides and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
    • These bacteria are spread through nose and throat discharges of a healthy person.
    • It is spread by people who are not sick but carry the bacteria.
    • When a person is ill with bacterial meningitis they require hospitalization and antibiotic treatment.
Instructions for Schools
  • Report immediately to Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.
  • There are no specific control measures or follow up for contacts of viral or Streptococci pneumococcal meningitis.
  • For contacts of meningitis due to haemophilus influenza B or Neisseria meningitides, Peel Public Health will advise a specific antibiotic and/or vaccination, if necessary.
  • Close contacts are persons living in the same household or those who may have shared saliva with the infected person (e.g. kissing, sharing toys, food and drinks).
  • Meningitis is not highly contagious and therefore is not easily spread.
  • Avoid activities that would result in sharing saliva.
  • Encourage thorough hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • Remember to protect the confidentiality of the student by not disclosing a diagnosis to concerned parents and/or colleagues. If contact follow up of those exposed is required, Peel Public Health will contact those who are at risk.

Peel Public Health is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

For more information on communicable disease resources and programs,
call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.(In Caledon, call 905-584-2216.)


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Revised: Tuesday January 12 2016