Local News

Antibiotics Given to Those Who Had Contact with Meningitis Victim

Posted February 19, 1998

— Franklin County health workers are treating some basketball players with antibiotics while they await test results to determine if an 18-year-old died this week from meningitis.

A 9-year-old who also became ill this week attends Youngsville Elementary School, where the 18-year-old played basketball at the school gym, said Debbie Gupton, nursing director for the county health department.

``It is my understanding they did not have any direct contact in the last couple weeks,'' Gupton said of the young man who died and the 9-year-old. Neither victim's name was released.

For now the teenager's cause of death is ``presumed meningitis,'' she said.

Antibiotics were being administered to basketball players who may have shared a water bottle with 18-year-old, who died Wednesday, said Dr. J.N. MacCormack, of the Communicable Disease Control Division of the state Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources.

About 35 children and adults have been treated with Rifampin, an antibiotic, Gupton said. So far, she added, no one else has reported feeling ill.

The 18-year-old who died was a member of the Youngsville Basketball League, which played at the elementary school.

Gupton says health officials are being cautious, but are not greatly alarmed.

Health officials say they are looking into the cases to see if there was any connection. Symptoms of meningitis include sudden high fever, vomiting, fever and sensitivity to light.

Health officials say they have informed the families, classmates and colleagues of the boys, but are still looking for others who may have shared food or drinks or had other contact with the two.

Gupton says anyone who may have come into contact with either of the boys are being offered antibiotics.

One of the 18-year-old's teammates, Jason Davis, said he was questioned by health officials.

Both boys became ill very quickly and health officials say symptoms of the disease do have a tendency to come on very suddenly. From staff reports and wire stories

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