HISD student dies from meningitis

October 31, 2008 9:25:13 PM PDT
Parents of some local middle school students are being warned, a result of a local eighth grade student who has died of meningitis. Paul Revere Middle School parents received a letter and an automated phone call from the principal Friday, telling them about the incident.

Along with their books and bags, students at Paul Revere Middle School took home a note from the principal and it was serious.

"We were informed today that one of our students passed away this morning. Today following hospital evaluation, the student was diagnosed as having meningitis," read a student to us from that letter. [READ FULL LETTER]

The student who died was an eighth grade girl, who was in the nurse's office. Tuesday, complaining of a headache. She was sent home that day and was admitted to a hospital that night. Classmates who we wont' identify because they're juveniles say they noticed she was sick.

"It just looked like she had a cold, though," said one student. "I wasn't too much touching her or anything, but it just makes you feel bad. I've known her and now she's not here any more."

The girl died Friday. The diagnosis was meningitis, but it's not known yet if it was the contagious strain so the district and Houston Health Department are treating it as if it is contagious and identifying possible contacts.

"Who's in class with that student? Who's the teacher? How many classes, how many students, how many teachers?" said HISD's Norm Uhl. "Who's the bus driver? Who's on that bus? We generate a list from that and it went to the city health department and they'll be contacting those families to arrange for preventative treatment."

It's cold and allergy season right now, but in this case, parents are being urged not to take anything for granted. The warning isn't lost on classmates either.

"After my friend had read that she had gotten messed up badly, he wouldn't even shake anyone's hand, talk to anybody," said another student we spoke with. "After that, I'm just kind of messed up now."

The symptoms of meningitis include fever, a stiff neck, a headache and sometimes a rash.

Along with officials from the city's health department, grief counselors will be at the school on Monday.

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