Kingwood high school student hospitalized with meningitis dies

KINGWOOD, TX (KTRK) -- A Kingwood High School freshman hospitalized with bacterial meningitis died early Thursday evening.

Jacob Silva, better-known as Jake, is being remembered as the kid with a big smile and big faith.

Silva attended Christ the King Lutheran Church while growing up in Harris County, and became active at Second Baptist Church (north campus) in the last couple of years.

"He was very open and willing to share his life and faith with people," says Christ the King Associate Pastor Doyle Theimer.

Silva was hospitalized Wednesday with Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacterial meningitis. According to a letter sent home to parents by Humble ISD, he was kept on life support for organ donation purposes.

Theimer watched him grow up at Christ the King church and has been with Jake's family since Wednesday.

"The most difficult aspect of this is that it began as a strep infection. And a very ordinary medical situation that very quickly became a crisis," he says.

On the day nobody knew would be Silva's last on Earth, his schoolmates honored him by wearing blue. Students say it was as somber day.

As news of his death spreads, Dr. Luis Ostrosky with Memorial Hermann at the Texas Medical Center says this will likely be the only case at Kingwood.

"This is not that contagious. You really need prolonged intimate contact to be infected," Dr. Ostrosky says. "So being in contact with secretions, or saliva, or cough etc."

But he says parents should be alert.

"As a precaution if my child were in that classroom and my child were having fevers, respiratory syndromes if take him to the doctor to make sure there's no transmission," Ostrosky said.

As Jake's family deals with his sudden death, their pastor Al Doering says that faith Jake so proudly shared will have to be their rock.

"The sorrow is overwhelming," Doering tells Eyewitness News. "Jesus said blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. I think what He meant is its good for you to say you're hurting because that's how you're going to get healed."

Despite dying from bacterial meningitis, his organs could possibly be viable. Organ procurement organization LifeGift sent us the following statement about the process.

"To answer your question, heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas and intestine can be recovered, even when someone has a contagious disease.

Organ procurement organizations, such as LifeGift, conduct intensive, comprehensive screenings on donors to prevent transmission of diseases like meningitis, HIV and hepatitis before transplantation occurs.

According to R. Patrick Wood, Chief Medical Officer for LifeGift, in the case of meningitis, if the appropriate antibiotics are administered 36 hours prior to recovery of the organs, transmission of the disease is likely not to occur."

There is a fund set up for the family through Wells Fargo. For anyone who wants to help, go to any Wells Fargo and make a donation to the Jacob Silva Benefit Fund.
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