Wisconsin Day-Care Teacher Dies From Meningitis

A teacher at a children's day-care center in Wisconsin has died after contracting meningitis.

Health officials said there was no cause for widespread alarm. Melody Bockenfeld, Outagamie County public health manager, said she notified parents whose children attend Children's World Learning Center in Kimberly after she was told of the death Friday.

Tara Anne Benter, 25, a lead teacher at the center, died Friday at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah.

"We notified anyone who needed to be," Bockenfeld said.

Meningitis is spread by close contact, such as intimate kissing, drinking out of the same container or sharing an eating utensil. It cannot be spread through casual social contact, Bockenfeld said.

"Generally, people who are exposed to co-workers or casual contacts are not treated," she said.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and possible rash.

Officials at the day-care center did not immediately return a telephone call Monday seeking comment.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and brain. Penicillin can treat most cases of the disease.

Benter, who lived in the Manitowoc County community of Collins, suffered from lupus, an immune deficiency disease, but Manitowoc County deputy coroner Debra Hansen said she died of meningitis.