PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office says a 6-year-old North Side boy has died from bacterial meningitis.
According to the medical examiner’s office, the boy passed away around 9 p.m. Wednesday at Allegheny General Hospital.
Authorities have not released the boy’s name, but he lived on Mount Pleasant Road in the Northview Heights section of Pittsburgh’s North Side.
An ambulance was called when it looked like the child had gone into cardiac arrest. Turns out, it was actually pneumococcal meningitis, a disease that attacks the brain and the spine.
Officials with the Allegheny County Health Department are advising the public not to panic.
“We should be calm in our pursuit of this situation,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, of the Allegheny County Health Department.
Health experts say some forms of meningitis are highly contagious. But that’s not so in this case.
“When somebody has a bad case of invasive pneumococcal disease – like this case of meningitis – even if they spread it, most people just get… it becomes carried in their nose or throat and it doesn’t cause disease,” said Dr. Ron Vorhees, of the Allegheny County Health Department. “For that reason, we don’t recommend people take antibiotics to prevent it, it just doesn’t work.”
Health officials say they are not going to any extraordinary means to treat people who have been in contact with the boy.
Meningitis symptoms include fever, fatigue, headaches, neck stiffness, nausea or vomiting.
The disease can strike quickly. But, in this instance, health officials don’t believe there’s reason to be overly concerned.
“There’s really not an action we’re going to be taking with either family or classes, it’s just going to be, hopefully, an isolated case,” said Dr. Vorhees.
Meanwhile, officials say not much could have been done to save the boy, as it starts out as flu-like symptoms but then rapidly developed.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.