KENDALLVILLE — Noble County health officials are cautioning people to be aware of their health after a dialysis patient was reported to have meningitis Monday.

According to a release and emergency alert issued around 1 p.m., those who were in “more than casual” contact with the infected patient during the past week should talk to the dialysis unit or their own doctor.

Over this past weekend, there has been a dialysis patient of the Kendallville outpatient dialysis unit who was diagnosed with a Neisseria meningitidis infection.

The release from the Noble County Health Department didn’t identify the patient or the exact location of the dialysis unit.

Cheryl Munson, Noble County Public Health Nurse, said simply standing in the same room as the infected patient shouldn’t make someone catch meningitis.

“It is really spread in direct contact with your saliva,” Munson said.

Anyone who is living with, sharing utensils with or kissing someone with meningitis is at the greatest risk of contracting meningitis.

There is a vaccine for meningitis that’s recommended for sixth-grade students, so some residents may already be immune.

“There are meningococcal meningitis vaccines that are given to school-age kids,” Munson said.

People who contract meningitis might have symptoms similar to those of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Those could include headache, fever and stiff neck, as well as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.

If untreated, the disease can be a fatal in a short period of time. People who have confirmed cases will be given antibiotics and may need to be hospitalized.

Where the patient contracted meningitis or their condition is unknown at this time.

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