Daycare staffer hospitalized with 'very rapid-moving infection'

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Bright Beginnings daycare is deep cleaning today and advising non-immunized children to stay away after a worker there was hospitalized with a "very rapid moving infection."

The daycare worker was diagnosed with epiglottitis, caused by a rare bacterial infection, is spread through the air — through a cough or a sneeze — by a carrier who may not be exhibiting symptoms or even have the illness.

According to a letter sent out by the day care, "(the worker) is currently in the hospital under sedation and has been intubated."

The letter to families also addressed the daycare's decision to remain open: "In light of this information, we had considered closing the center for the remainder of the week in order to do a thorough cleaning but after careful consideration, we have decided this would cause a tremendous hardship on our families and are not going to do so. We will be taking time today and over the next few days to deep clean as much as we can while still caring for the children. Every surface will be disinfected and run through a washing machine or sanitizer when possible."

The letter also said that the staff member who contracted epiglottitis had been immunized against Haemophilus influenza type b, also known as Hib, which is a common cause of an epiglottitis infection.

The letter advised families with children who had not been immunized against Hib to keep their kids home or arrange for them to be cared for elsewhere.

Children infected with epiglottitis would exhibit symptoms that could include:

a high fever

lessened symptoms when leaning forward or sitting upright

sore throat

a hoarse voice

drooling

difficulty swallowing

painful swallowing

restlessness

breathing through their mouth