Parents alerted after possible meningitis death

March 03, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien and Erin Texeira | Dennis O'Brien and Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Howard County officials alerted parents of children attending an Ellicott City elementary school yesterday that a second-grade student might have died from meningitis Sunday, but at least one physician said he doubts that type of infection killed the child.

Parents of Worthington Elementary School students were alerted yesterday to the death of 8-year-old Steven Chilton in letters sent home by school and Howard County health officials.

A letter from Dr. Willa Brown, director of the county Health Department's Bureau of Personal Health, said Steven died of "probable meningococcus meningitis."

But a physician at Howard County General Hospital, where Steven was initially treated after suffering a high fever Sunday, said last night that he doubted the child died of meningitis.

"It's unknown at this time whether it's meningitis, but it's probably not," said Dr. David Monroe, head of pediatrics at Howard County General.

Steven was treated for about two hours there before he was flown by helicopter to the Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric intensive care unit in Baltimore, where he died Sunday night.

Monroe said that Steven's treating physician, Dr. Pamela Jacobs, examined samples of the boy's blood under a microscope Sunday and found no evidence of meningitis.

But health and school officials said yesterday they were taking no chances.

Brown's letter advises students who have had close contact with Steven to seek preventive medication from their physicians.

Pub Date: 3/03/98

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