Volusia County school issues meningitis exposure warning to parents

Students at a school in Volusia County may have been exposed to meningitis, according to a notice sent to parents, which was obtained by FOX 35. 

A boy at the school has died, a spokesperson for Burns Science and Technology Charter School confirmed to FOX 35 on Friday, but school officials did not say what the boy died from or whether the boy died from meningitis. His identity has not yet been released. 

"This has rocked us to the core, and we feel terrible for the family of this boy," Albert Amalfitano, chair of the board for the Burns Science and Technology Charter School, shared in a statement with FOX 35. "We are taking all necessary precautions to protect our other students."

The school issued a warning, saying other students might have been exposed to the infection. 


"After reporting to the health department, CDC, and district, we are informing you that your child may have been exposed to Meningitis. We are following all mandated protocols, and the district is personally contacting any families whose students were in close contact," the notice said, which was obtained by FOX 35. "We feel there is no harm in taking extra precautions and ask you to consider reaching out to your health care professional on this matter."

Volusia County Schools dispatched its Crisis and Mental Health Response team to the school earlier this week to provide support and grief counseling for students and staff. 

"The team is also available to meet with students and staff over the coming days and weeks as needed. Virtual grief counseling sessions are also available upon request," a spokesperson for the school district said in a statement. 

FOX 35 has reached out to the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, which says, "All information contained in epidemiological investigations is confidential."

This is a developing story. 

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What is meningitis?

Meningitis is the swelling of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The swelling is typically caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. 

What causes meningitis?

According to the CDC, injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other types of infections can cause meningitis. 

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Is meningitis contagious?

The germs that cause bacterial meningitis can spread from one person to another. 

People can also spread the viruses that cause viral meningitis to other people. If you come into close contact with someone with viral meningitis, they could spread it to you – but it's not likely you'll develop meningitis because most people diagnosed with these viruses will not develop meningitis, according to the CDC. 

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What are symptoms of meningitis?

 Here's a list of meningitis symptoms in people ages two and up, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Sudden high fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or trouble waking
  • Sensitivity to light
  • No appetite or thirst.
  • Skin rash in some cases, such as in meningococcal meningitis

Click here and here to learn more about meningitis.