Michigan prison guard dies from bacterial meningitis, prisoner hospitalized

A Michigan prison guard died Monday after contracting bacterial meningitis, which was also confirmed in an unidentified prisoner who is expected to recover. The 52-year-old guard, who was not identified by the Michigan Department of Corrections, worked at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon for 20 years, Fox 17 Online reported.

Bacterial meningitis is a serious illness that can cause death within hours. While most people can recover with timely treatment, patients may suffer from permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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A spokesperson said the guard’s illness had started with streptococcus and developed into meningitis, and that he last worked March 18 before entering the hospital late last week, according to MLive.com.

The causes vary, but it was not clear how the bacteria entered the prison, or who came down with the illness first, according to Fox 17 Online.

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Tests are reportedly being conducted to see whether the prisoner, who is currently being treated at a health center in Jackson, was sickened by the same strain of meningitis. The spokesperson said areas of the prison have been cleaned with bleach, and that employees and prisoners are being provided with masks upon request, according to MLive.