Officials: Bacterial meningitis kills Oklahoma student

An Oklahoma elementary school student has died of bacterial meningitis, officials said Thursday, and two other students are hospitalized with the illness.

Health department officials are at Oologah Lower Elementary School in Oologah, Oklahoma, according to a statement from Oologah Talala Emergency Medical Services. Oologah Talala School Superintendent Rick Thomas has asked parents to remain calm until the health department makes recommendations on what actions should be taken, the statement said.

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The medical team at the school may screen students or begin vaccinations, Thomas said, according to the statement.

No further details were available.

Oologah is about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa.

Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease can be caused by a virus or by a bacterium, the CDC Web site says. Knowing how a particular case was caused is essential because the treatment for viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis are different.

“Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment,” the CDC Web site explains. “But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage,

hearing loss, or learning disabilities.”

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