A suspected case of meningitis at Versailles Middle School was actually viral encephalitis. 

A release from the Morgan County R-II School District provided the update Tuesday morning after receiving the diagnosis information from the Morgan County Health Department. A VMS student was reported with possible meningitis last week, causing the district to cancel VMS activities and disinfect the school as precautions. 

The confirmed diagnosis of viral encephalitis is believed to be an isolated case, according to the district. 

This illness is an inflammation of the brain caused by a virus, such as measles and rubella, that have migrated to the brain via accessing the bloodstream. Other micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and parasites, are capable of triggering encephalitis, but viruses – particularly the group known as enteroviruses – are the leading cause. Enteroviruses can include coxsackievirus, poliovirus and echovirus.

The combination of infection and immune response creates the typical symptoms of viral encephalitis. 

The district did encourage families to practice good hygiene to try to avoid spreading illnesses through the schools as the area enters the cold and flu season. The release states that the district has already seen several cases of strep, mono and stomach illnesses. 

Recommendations included covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, washing hands frequently and avoiding drinking out of common containers. 

The district also asks that students be kept at home any time they have a fever and not return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours.