Published On: Thu, Aug 30th, 2012

Queensbury H.S. student, Jonathan Vasiliou, dies from possible bacterial meningitis

School officials with the Queensbury Union Free School District had the tough task today of announcing the sad and untimely death of one of it students.

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Image/David Benbennick via Wikimedia Commons

According to a Queensbury Union Free School District news release Wednesday, district officials were notified that 16-year-old Jonathan Vasiliou, a Queensbury High School student/athlete, was taken to the Albany Medical Center on the evening of Monday, Aug. 27, with a very serious infection. Last night, district officials sadly learned that he passed away.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Douglas W. Huntley said, “On behalf of the entire district, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Jonathan’s family at this difficult time. Jonathan was very involved in our school and will be missed for many reasons. He was a great kid, someone who was well respected by faculty, staff and students alike.”

Although it has not been confirmed, Warren County health officials suspect based on his symptoms, he may have died from bacterial meningitis.

Because of the potential of bacterial meningitis and the fact the high school junior was a member of the varsity football team, school physician, Dr. Dan Larson is recommending all Queensbury football players receive a single dose of the prophylactic antibiotic, ciprofloxacin as a preventive measure.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses othersymptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to personthrough respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay.

Meningococcal meningitis can be prevented with vaccination.

Other student/athletes who may have had contact with Jonathan are encouraged to consult their local health department and family physician. According to Dr. Larson and Warren County Public Health officials, a bacterial meningitis infection is transmitted only through close contact with an infected person. Click here or contact Warren County Public Health at 761-6580 for more information.

As a preventative measure, the high school custodial staff has increased cleaning and disinfection measures in all potentially affected school areas.

School counselors are also available to help all students, faculty, staff and parents through this loss throughout the week. For more information, call the Guidance Office at 824-4604.

Calling hours for Johnathan are Monday, September 3, from 3-7 p.m. at the Regan & Denny Funeral Home. At this time the district does not yet have information about the Funeral Mass. More information will be provided as it becomes available.



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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63


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