Pasco County public health officials are investigating whether bacterial meningitis caused the death of a 4-year-old Holiday boy on Sunday, according to a television report.
WFLA-TV reports that Amonti Saunders died at a hospital the morning after coming down with a fever at his home. His mother gave him medicine Saturday night to control the symptoms, but he still had a fever and difficulty walking Sunday morning. His family then rushed him to a nearby fire station, the report said.
Amonti made it to a hospital but died within 12 hours of showing symptoms, the boy’s cousin, Miranda Hill, told WFLA-TV.
County health officials confirmed to the station that it was notified of the suspected case of meningitis and was conducting tests.
Family members told WFLA-TV that they and others in contact with Amonti were given vaccines as a precaution. Amonti’s preschool in New Port Richey was closed Monday for cleaning and other precautions.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining around the brain and the spinal cord and can be caused by virus or bacteria. Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can include high fevers, headaches, stiff necks, rashes, nausea, an inability to stay awake and confusion.
The disease is transmitted through shared saliva or other throat secretions. People cannot be infected by being in the same room as someone who is ill. Experts say children are most at risk, along with older adults and people with long-term health problems.