While it's not confirmed it's meningitis, the symptoms that killed a high school student are similar to bacterial meningitis.
The victim was a junior here at Glen Burnie High School. She died yesterday morning, after starting to experience symptoms just days earlier.
Some parents of the 2,000 students who attend Glen Burnie say they considered holding their children out of school tomorrow, but school officials say that won't be necessary.
Still parent Dawn McCloskey says, "I don't want her to panic. Just be aware. Just don't really have too much contact with anybody. Go to school, stay to yourself and come straight home."
Meningitis is an infection of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal column. It can be caused by viruses or bacteria.
This victim experienced symptoms similar to those found in bacterial meningitis. Unlike viral mengitis, the bacterial form is almost always fatal if it's not treated.
But bacterial meningitis is more difficult to transmit, it can't be transmitted through the air- only by close contact, like kissing or sharing utensils.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools Spokesperson Bob Mosier says the school system "will continue to work with the health department to identify anyone who is believed to be a close contact of this student, and then work to provide more information to them."
The Anne Arundel County Health Department has advised the school system that the high school does not need to be closed for any amount of time, and no additional cleaning is necessary to make it safe.
"No consideration to closing the school; the health department has not advised us to do that at all," says Mosier.
Dawn McCloskey's daughter was not close with the girl who died. Her concern is whether any of her daughter's friends, might have been.
Dawn says, "it was just, make sure she knows what the symptoms are so she can immediately tell me. If she's not feeling well I can get her to the doctor, get a handle on it."
If you or your physician have any questions, please call the Department of Health Epidemiology Program at 410-222-7256.
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