Local News

Test results find no meningitis in Durham child

Posted November 19, 2013

Mount Zion Christian Church

— A laboratory test failed to detect bacterial meningitis in cells from a Durham child who died last week, officials said Tuesday. Despite the negative test result, a spokeswoman for the Durham County Department of Public Health said the diagnosis was based on the findings of the doctors who examined the 5-year-old girl.

After her sudden death, officials at Mount Zion Christian Academy, where the child attended kindergarten, closed the school for cleaning. 

Health authorities said that step was unnecessary, because bacterial meningitis is not spread through casual contact. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial meningitis is transmitted through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, such as kissing.

Nine other children who attend Mount Zion Christian Academy, at 3519 Fayetteville St., were given preventative antibiotics. By Tuesday, none had reported suspected meningitis to the county health department.

Symptoms of an infection generally develop within three to seven days of exposure and include a sudden onset of a fever, headache or stiff neck, according to the CDC. Those signs can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental status.

In interviews at the time of the child's death, Eric Nickens, the health department's information and communications manager, noted that sometimes test results are inconclusive.


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  • CharmedLife Nov 19, 2013

    But it can't be confirmed as B.M., so maybe a good thorough cleaning IS absolutely necessary since you don't know what actually killed the child...busyb97

    ---Totally agree!!! Never hurts to do a lil extra deep cleansing!

  • busyb97 Nov 19, 2013

    So they say it wasn't bacterial meningitis in the labs, but they are calling the extra cleaning as unnecessary since bacterial meningitis isn't transmitted via casual contact.

    But it can't be confirmed as B.M., so maybe a good thorough cleaning IS absolutely necessary since you don't know what actually killed the child!

    They just don't want to admit being wrong about something. Better to say "I don't know yet" and take the precautions that the school has taken, than to do nothing.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Nov 19, 2013

    LOC - "So what did the child die from?? sad either way..."


    Someone needs to determine exactly what killed this poor child, and FAST just in case what did kill them requires another medication be given to those exposed.

  • pedsrndad Nov 19, 2013

    They are sticking with a diagnosis of meningitis in the absence of clinical findings? What about meningeal inflammation? No positive culture results? They are saying meningitis because saying "we don't really know" is much scarier. Some forms of meningitis are extremely infectious. The fact no other child has any symptoms makes me suspicious of the diagnosis.

  • LOC Nov 19, 2013

    So what did the child die from?? sad either way..