Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are two main types that are infectious, bacterial and viral, which can be spread through close contact with another person or improper hand washing.
Officials at Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham cancelled classes last Thursday following the death of the 5-year-old student.
Now, officials say 14 students at Mount Zion Christian Academy who came in close contact with the kindergartener were given antibiotics as a preventative measure, as was the girl's family. None of the students are showing symptoms, according to the Health Department.
The 5-year-old girl began showing symptoms at school last Tuesday. Her parents rushed her to the hospital, but she died Wednesday.
The little girl named Leah, according to Mount Zion's pastor, had been at the church since she was just 3 months old. Funeral services were held for the girl over the weekend.
The pastor said the school followed the proper procedures and any students who had contact with the child have been notified.
The Health Department said they did not believe the girl was infected at school, but out of abundance of caution the Pastor closed the school Thursday and brought in a professional cleaning company to wipe down everything with disinfectant. Notes were handed out to parents as they arrived to drop off their kids.
The Health Department does not believe anyone in the child's neighborhood was exposed.
The case is still listed as "suspected" bacterial meningitis, until the lab results come back sometime this week.
Parents have been told to contact their health care provider if anyone in their family shows symptoms of infection, including: Fever, headache, and a stiff neck.
Parents in Durham who have questions can contact the health department at (919) 560-7896 or (919) 560-7635.