The first reason is I worked at the Dairy Queen from age 14 to 19 where we were taught to take precautions and to make sure things were sanitized for the health of our customers. We also had to answer to the county Board of Health and their monthly inspections. I knew what their checklist was and the manner in which utensils were cleaned and sanitized was of top concern.
My father was also in food service and had a concern for these things too.
The second reason related to the photo above which is a picture of my 5th Grade public school class, the 1963/64 academic year. That's the year President Kennedy was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963. My teacher, Miss Betty Casey, was a good practicing Catholic, was the first to inform our class that the President had been shot and then announced he had died. She had her rosary in hand from the moment she heard of him being shot. She cried telling us he had died.
Miss Casey died last week in Augusta at the age of 89.
In 1991 I returned to Augusta as pastor of the downtown church there and I reconnected with Miss Casey at a variety of events. In the late 1990's her niece who had just become a Freshman at Georgia Southern University, contracted meningitis after drinking from a can a coke she shared with her boyfriend. She came home sick with flu symptoms and in three days she was dead.
I was called to the hospital ICU isolation ward to offer her the Last Rites which included the "Extreme Unction." I had to put on all kinds of protective gear to go into her room and the nurse warned me to be very careful and only use gloves for the anointed and not contaminate the Oil.
She said that doctors refused to go into that room with her. Her skin had turned black from head to toe. It was very sad. She was about 18 or 19 years old.
I offered her funeral Mass at a packed church.
How is Meningitis Spread?
- many of the viruses that cause meningitis are spread through saliva or feces.
- bacteria are spread from person to person through saliva (spit).
- most people may already have immunity (natural protection) from many of these germs.
- you must be in close contact with a person's saliva in order for the bacteria to spread.
- Close contact includes activities such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, sharing water bottles, lipsticks, mouth pieces on musical instruments, sharing eating/drinking utensils, or sharing cigarettes with someone who is sick.
- Classmates and co-workers are not normally considered to be at high risk for getting bacterial meningitis, unless they have special, close contact with a person who is sick from bacterial meningitis.
- most of the germs that cause meningitis disease can spread from person to person, but they will not cause the disease just by getting in to the throat.