TOLEDO, Ohio, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Toledo, Ohio health officials say a shopping mall Santa Claus tested positive for carrying a bacteria that causes meningitis.
Dr. David Grossman, health commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, said the unidentified man was an asymptomatic carrier of the bacteria neisseria meningitides, which causes meningitis. He was admitted to a hospital Thursday with a respiratory problem, and the discovery was made then, the Toledo Blade reported Sunday.
Although the man was carrying the bacteria, he did not actually have meningitis, Grossman said.
Health officials asked parents to monitor any children who visited a Santa at the Southwyck Shopping Center last week for signs of infection, which include flu-like symptoms including fever, chill, skin rash or nausea.
The Centers for Disease Control says meningitis is spread through the exchange of saliva, most commonly kissing and coughing, and is not spread by casual contact or simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.