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Published: Saturday, 12/23/2006

Santa Claus who worked at local mall is carrier of bacteria that causes meningitis

BLADE STAFF

Health officials are recommending that parents who took their children to the Southwyck Shopping Center to see Santa Claus on certain dates and times take them to doctors after a person who worked as Santa was diagnosed as a carrier of the bacteria that causes meningitis.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department received a report today that a patient admitted to St. Luke's Hospital on Thursday was an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria.

The patient was working as Santa Claus at Southwyck on Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dec. 18 from 8:24 a.m. to 2:33 p.m.; Dec. 19 from 8:24 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., and on Dec. 20 from 8:24 a.m. to 1:24 p.m.

Health officials recommend that any child exposed to the Santa at Southwyck at those times should see their physicians as preventive antibiotics may be prescribed.

Some forms of meningitis are contagious. The bacteria are spread through things such as coughing and kissing. They are not spread by casual contact or by breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com .



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