Local News

Durham 5-year-old dies from probable case of meningitis

Posted November 14, 2013

— A spokesman for the Durham County Department of Public Health said Thursday that health officials are investigating a probable case of bacterial meningitis after a 5-year-old child died Wednesday in Durham.

Eric Nickens, the health department's information and communications manager, said that nine other children who attend Mount Zion Christian Academy, at 3519 Fayetteville St., are being treated with preventative antibiotics because they had been in close contact with the child.

The unidentified child presented no symptoms of the disease until Wednesday morning and later died at Duke University Hospital, Nickens said.

It could be several days however, before lab results confirm the case, he continued, also noting that sometimes results are inconclusive.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of an infection develop within three to seven days of exposure and include a sudden onset of a fever, headache or stiff neck. Those signs can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental status.

Bacterial meningitis can be transmitted through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, such as kissing, the CDC says, but it cannot be spread through casual contact or by breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.

Donald Fozard Sr., pastor of Mount Zion Christian Church, would not comment Thursday about the case but said the day care was closed for cleaning crews to sanitize classrooms and would reopen Friday.

Fozard said the move was a precautionary measure that public health officials advised was unnecessary.


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  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Nov 15, 2013

    Prayers for the family....

  • csw Nov 14, 2013

    My condolences to the family for the loss of their precious child.

  • Phyxius1 Nov 14, 2013

    This is nasty stuff and we dealt with it. Son was around 5 when he got it and went from feeling good one day to not so much the next. We took him to Drs office before he got too bad and they wouldn't risk a thing and put a IV line in him and called an ambulance to take him to Duke. Later that day he spiked at 104 temp and was non responsive for a bit. He spent a few days in the hospital with it enduring spinal taps and much blood work. He recovered and I am so sorry for the loss this family suffered over it with something that you cant control.

  • sunneyone2 Nov 14, 2013

    This is terrible. I am so sorry for the family's loss.

  • WageSlave Nov 14, 2013

    Wow, Bacterial meningitis sounds like really scary stuff. Glad to hear those of you that have experienced are ok. Prayers and thoughts go to the family of this child.

    So many scary things out there concerning health.

  • CharmedLife Nov 14, 2013

    Thanks, btneast. With a name like Obamacare for one and all, I guess I should expect quite a bit of sarcasim LOL

  • simplelogic Nov 14, 2013

    Bacterial meningitis causes an overwhelming immune response. When the immune system first responds to the bacteria, it causes the cells to disintegrate. Unfortunately, these bacteria have cell walls that fragment into thousands of particles, each of which then goes on to trigger a separate, amplified immune response. The resultant inflammation and swelling, which when occurring within the brain cause huge pressure build-ups, are what cause the deadly symptoms - not the bacteria themselves. This is why bacterial meningitis is so much worse than viral meningitis - in the latter, the immune system is only responding to the initial pathogens, not millions of break-down products.

  • kikinc Nov 14, 2013

    randleman1972-How scary! Glad you recovered!!

    I had a similar incident, only it was a coworker that fell ill. When I was in HS, I worked in a pharmacy. I used to work 5 pm to 9:30 pm on school nights. One of my coworkers, who was also a classmate, reported to work at 5 pm, as usual. By 6 pm, he began to feel achy and feverish, and complained of a headache. By 8 pm, his temperature was 104 and he was beginning to hallucinate a bit. His parents were called, and they rushed him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. All it took was 2 hours to escalate. The doctor told him as well he was just hours away from losing his life. Meningitis is very, very scary.

  • devilblue Nov 14, 2013

    I thought meningitis vaccinations were part of vaccines you get as an infant, maybe not. So sad at any rate. Poor baby.

  • btneast Nov 14, 2013

    Please consider what you say beforehand. As many cases there have been of meningitis, no city has been quarantined. There isn't a need for it.

    Raisin, fairly sure he was being sarcastic. Secondly, these blogs should never be taken seriously, so don't be alarmed at what some folks post...