SCS: Student dies from bacterial meningitis

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A South Stanly High School student has died after contracting bacterial meningitis, according to Stanly County Schools.

SCS Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said the student had been enrolled for nine days after transferring from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

“I reached out and offered my condolences to the aunt, who is taking most of the phone calls,” James said. “The family is definitely in our prayers.”

The district would not reveal the name of the student, who is a minor.

“Once alerted [Monday] night we immediately communicated with the health department, which in turn called the state health department for additional guidance,” James said. “This helped us form a school message to all parents at SSHS. We had additional counselors from our district crisis team on site early [Tuesday] morning to help support students and staff impacted by this unfortunate tragedy. The loss of such a young life leaves me speechless and in deep prayer for the family, community and school.”

Stanly County Health and Human Services Director David Jenkins said the Health Department received confirmation Tuesday afternoon on the death by meningitis.

“According to our colleagues at (Department of Public Health), meningitis can be caused by many viruses, bacteria and fungi, and this particular type of meningitis does not put others at risk and therefore is of no public health concern,” Jenkins said.

“Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. Most people recover from meningitis. However, permanent disabilities (such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities) can result from the infection,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light) and confusion.

A message was sent to parents Monday night by the school system.

“Parents, this message is to inform you that there has been a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis at South Stanly High School. We have been in touch with our local Health Department who indicated that, at this time, there are no preventative measures the school needs to take. However, as a precaution, we will be sending home information on bacterial meningitis with your student. If you believe your student exhibits any symptoms related to bacterial meningitis please consult with your health care provider immediately. While we strongly believe this was a single occurrence of the disease, we wanted to ensure all parents were made aware of the situation so they could respond to any health issues in a timely manner. If you have any questions, you may contact our school nurse by calling the school.”