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April 16, 2014

Sixth-grader at Louisburg Middle School dies of bacterial meningitis

Aaron T. Willard died Tuesday of complications from the disease, the school district said. But district and state health officials stressed that the disease is not contagious and does not pose a public health risk.

The Louisburg Unified School District confirmed Wednesday that a sixth-grade student at Louisburg Middle School has died from complications of bacterial meningitis.

But school district and state health officials stressed that the disease is not contagious and does not pose a public health risk.

“None of these (bacterial meningitis) diseases are passed easily from person to person,” said Charlie Hunt, state epidemiologist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “We have not recommended anything in particular (for prevention) with regard to this situation.”

Aaron T. Willard died Tuesday of bacterial meningitis complications, the school district said.

“We were saddened to learn of this news and will be providing opportunities for students and staff to visit with counselors if necessary,” the district said in a written statement.

Bacterial infections causing meningitis typically occur in household or dormitory settings where there is close personal contact with someone carrying the bacteria and not in general classroom settings, Hunt said. People who have weakened immune systems or who haven’t been vaccinated against the different bacteria causing meningitis are particularly vulnerable, he said.

Most vaccinations that protect against bacterial meningitis are given in early childhood, but immunization against meningococcal bacteria is not recommended until a child is 11 or 12 years old.

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