Bacterial meningitis eyed as possible cause of Newark boy’s death

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NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11)-- Newark parents will meet with health officials Tuesday to discuss new details from the investigation into the death of a first grade student at the Oliver Street School.

The 6-year-old died March 5. He had been suffering from "flu-like" symptoms and his tragic death is now being investigated as a possible case of bacterial meningitis, officials said.

Health and school leaders are scheduled to meet with parents at 3 p.m. to discuss the case. Close contacts of the child have been identified and offered antibiotics, officials said.

The child was out of school for 10 days with the illness, according to the Newark Public Schools District. Officials said the student was not in school while potentially infectious and since there were no school contacts or contamination of the school, there are no recommendations for public health action.

Most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as viruses that cause the common cold or the flu, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the germs that cause bacterial meningitis can be contagious and spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions.

Symptoms of meningitis include fatigue, headaches, nausea, rash and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these or other flu-like symptoms should see a doctor.

Parents at Oliver Street School have been told to keep a close eye on their children and look for any signs or symptoms of illness and to see a doctor if their child becomes sick.

The first-grade student died the same week as another young New Jersey student. The second student was a seventh grader at a school near Oliver Street School. The cause of that child's death remains a mystery and is under investigation.

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