Student at Coral Reef Senior High School Died From Bacterial Meningitis: Spokesman

His illness was not related to the recent fungal meningitis outbreak, school district spokesman says

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    A student at Coral Reef Senior High School has died from bacterial meningitis, but the case is not related to the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, the school district said. Ricardo Valdes said he took his son to an urgent care facility Thursday night which diagnosed him with a flu virus and found he had a 104.3-degree fever. (Published Saturday, Oct 13, 2012)

    A student at Coral Reef Senior High School has died from bacterial meningitis, but the case is not related to the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, the school district said.

    The schools are working closely with the Miami-Dade County Health Department and are following procedures to safeguard the health of other students, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesman John Schuster said.

    Coral Reef Senior High Student Died From Bacterial Meningitis

    [MI] Student at Coral Reef Senior High School Died From Bacterial Meningitis
    A Coral Reef Senior High School student has died from bacterial meningitis. Family members identified him as Christopher Valdez, 18. Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesman John Schuster said in a statement that the case is not related to the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak. Principal Adrianne Leal sent a letter to parents. (Published Friday, Oct 12, 2012)

    Family members identified the student as Christopher Valdes, 18.

    He felt ill at his home on SW 192nd Street Friday morning and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital South where he was later pronounced dead, Miami-Dade Police said in a statement. Valdes died within one hour of arriving at a hospital, medical officials said at a news conference.

    Former South Florida Teacher With Brain Cancer Is Raising Money For His Vision Quest

    [MI] Former South Florida Teacher With Brain Cancer Is Raising Money For His Vision Quest
    David Menasche is determined to see the Pacific Ocean. The former English teacher, who has brain cancer, talked about his quest to see the Pacific before he loses his eyesight. Former student Kara Trucchio said Menasche inspired her to become a school counselor. (Published Friday, Aug 10, 2012)

    Ricardo Valdes said he took his son to an urgent care facility Thursday night which diagnosed him with a flu virus and found he had a 104.3-degree fever.

    "Not even antibiotics were prescribed, just a flu virus," he said.

    8 Florida Facilities Got Tainted Medicine

    [MI] 8 Facilities in Florida Got Tainted Medicine from Pharmacy Linked to Meningitis Outbreak
    Six people at Surgical Park Center, an outpatient facility on Kendall Drive, received the potentially tainted medicine from a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy that has been linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak. Bill Cox of Surgical Park Center said in a statement that it has stopped using all products it received from the Massachusetts organization. Doctors Jim Turner and Matthew Smith talked about the issue. (Published Saturday, Oct 6, 2012)

    Health department officials said Christopher Valdes was prescribed antibiotics, however.

    "They were given instructions if there was deterioration to consult their physicians or the emergency room, and so they did, but by the time they went the deterioration was very advanced," said Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry, an epidemiologist with the health department.

    Ricardo Valdes said Christopher was "the kind of kid that you would dream of as a dad."

    "And I guess if what they say only the good die young, boy, they lived up to it there," he said. "Right now I feel like I’m living in a nightmare. I feel like at any moment they’re going to wake me up and you guys will all be gone and it will be over, but it’s not happening."

    A letter to parents, which was obtained by NBC 6 South Florida, said that the student was diagnosed with meningococcal disease, a severe infection of the bloodstream caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.

    The school said it was on lockdown Friday and wanted to make sure that parents got the letter.

    The health department is investigating the "close contacts" of the student, Principal Adrianne Leal wrote in the letter.

    "This bacteria is spread by direct, close contact with nose or throat discharges of an infected person. Some ways that it can be spread include kissing and sharing of food and beverages," she wrote. "Many people carry this particular germ in their nose and throat without any signs of illness, while others may develop serious symptoms."

    More Health News

    Common symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, headache, vomiting, a rash and a stiff neck, Leal wrote.

    She urged parents to bring their son or daughter to a doctor immediately if they have any of those symptoms, and said the health department can take any questions at 305-470-5660.

    Word of the lockdown quickly spread on Twitter, followed by news of the student's death.

    "My heart goes out to coral reef right now ... I know how it feels to lose someone that went to your school! Keep your head up," wrote Tae Twa (@TawanaDukes).

    Said Nick Vega, 15, of Miami: "Rest in peace to the student who passed away at Coral Reef today.

    According to police, the cause of Valdes' death remains unknown pending results from the medical examiner's office.

    Mejia-Echeverry said it wouldn't be possible to trace where Valdes was infected.

    There are about 15 to 20 cases of bacterial meningitis in the county each year, and Valdes is the second person to die from the disease this year, according to the health department.

    Ricardo Valdes said his son woke him up during the 4 a.m. hour and told him, "Look Dad, I'm feeling horrible and I got bruises all over my body."

    He quickly took him to the hospital. Eventually Christopher Valdes' heart seized, and he was revived, but he died shortly after that, his father said.

    “He was (a) good, hard worker, worked and went to school, and just got his car," said his aunt, Barbara Torres. "He was just living life at 18. Why so young, why do they have to take ‘em so young, man, so young?”

    South Florida News Videos