St. Louis, MO. – The death of a high school senior in Wentzville yesterday from bacterial meningitis has health officials reminding parents to be on the look out for symptoms of the disease.
Eighteen-year-old Eric Hamilton had complained of feeling ill just last Thursday.
Bacterial or meningococcal meningitis is a rare infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord that can strike quickly. Cardinal Glennon pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller says the symptoms can be confused for the flu.
"Fever, headache, difficulty with exposure to light, what's called photophobia, people don't want to be around the light, neck pain, stiff neck and stiff shoulders," Dr. Haller said. "Vomiting can be part of it too because as pressure increases inside the skull and the central nervous system, that can cause nauseous and vomiting."
Dr. Haller says germs can be spread through secretions in the nose or throat and are transferred by close contact like coughing, sneezing and kissing.