Durham Child's Death Possibly Caused By Meningitis

Nov 15, 2013

Durham County public health officials are investigating a child's death that may have been because of a case of bacterial meningitis.  The health department says the child was rushed to Duke University Hospital after showing symptoms of the disease Wednesday.   

Thursday, operators at the daycare the child attended, Mount Zion Christian, closed the school to be cleaned and disinfected.  Public health spokesman Eric Nickens says he wants parents to know that just being around an infected child will not pass the disease along. 

 "When you're dealing with bacterial meningitis, that is spread by direct contact with oral secretions so activities such as sharing utensils and sharing food would fall into that category," says Nickens.   "You can't get bacterial meningitis by simple casual contact, breathing the air that a six person has been in in the same room." Doctors are still awaiting test results to see if bacterial meningitis is the cause of death.  Nickens says they are already trying to protect other children at the church daycare.

Duke University Hospital where a Durham child with a possible case of bacterial meningitis died Wednesday.
Credit Duke Medecine
 "There were nine students who were in close contact with the deceased student and those children have been given preventive antibiotics," Nickens explains.  "In situations like this you don't want to wait for a lab confirmation or anything because it could delay treatment." Daycare operators at Mount Zion Christian Church say they plan to reopen Friday.