Coroner: Harrisburg boy, 5, died from meningitis

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Dauphin County coroner says a 5-year-old Harrisburg boy died last week from bacterial meningitis.

Coroner Graham Hetrick said the boy had a strain of the bacteria that is less contagious than others and is usually treated with antibiotics.

Hetrick did not release the name of the child who died Dec. 28.

He said his office and the state Health Department are investigating.

Common symptoms for meningitis are severe headaches, severe neck stiffness and pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Some patients may think they have a severe cold of flu. Most people can catch meningitis in congested areas when they come in contact with a lot of people.

Experts say that most viral strains can often be treated at home, but bacterial strains will require antibiotics, and if untreated, will likely get worse and could lead to death.

Doctors say the most effective way to diagnose meningitis is to obtain some of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord by doing a lumbar puncture. It is done in the emergency room and does not take very long.

For more information about meningitis, visit health.pa.gov.

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