County of Marin - News Releases - Meningitis Case

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2017

Public Health Handling Meningitis Case

Extremely low risk of transmission for those who were in contact with individual

San Rafael, CA – A case of bacterial meningitis has been identified in Marin County, suspected to be meningococcal meningitis.

The County of Marin Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit (CDPC) has conducted an investigation and concluded the interval for potential exposure was December 31, 2016, to January 7, 2017.  In addition, CDPC has identified, and is the process of notifying, those individuals who may have been exposed. 

Above all, there is an extremely low risk of transmission for those who were in contact with the individual, and there is no real risk for the wider Marin County community. At this time, there have been no reports of additional cases.

As with any identified case of infectious disease, CDPC conducts an investigation to identify potential exposure rates to keep transmission rate to a minimum and insure an isolated case does not become an outbreak. It is normal for an investigation of this type to include a few hundred individuals. Out of an abundance of caution, these individuals are notified of possible exposure though their risk of infection may be very low.

There are different grades of exposure, from “low” (e.g., a visit to a gym) to “high” (e.g., a family member, roommate or co-worker). Of the individuals identified in this investigation, the majority are classified at a low exposure rate and with a very low risk of transmission. Even for those individuals classified at a moderate to high exposure rate, the risk of transmission is low. For those with close contact with the individual, one does of antibiotic is highly effective to prevent illness.

The some exposures occurred during a series of exercise classes in Larkspur last week. While the risk of transmission in this setting is typically very low, clients believed to be exposed were contacted out of caution due to the aerobic nature of the classes. The studio location in question has been proactive in their response to ensure the facility is sanitary and is safe for current customers. 

Individuals with questions about the symptoms of, and treatment for, bacterial meningitis should contact their personal physician or read the federal Centers for Disease Control webpage. Do not call 911 or emergency personnel unless you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

The CDPC is a division of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website