Arundel teen in hospital with meningitis

April 27, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Travis Blake, a senior at Chesapeake High School, was in critical condition last night at North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie with bacterial meningitis, hospital officials said.

His illness comes two weeks after an Annapolis High School junior died of the disease, but county health department officials say that there is no connection between the two cases.

"We're dealing with a different strain of the organism," said Frances Phillips, the county's chief health officer.

Cara Margaret Petrini, 16, died of the disease April 10.

Blake is a center on the school's basketball team.

Phillips said she learned of Blake's case about 8 a.m. yesterday, when his doctor contacted the health department.

Health officials immediately alerted the staff at Chesapeake High, and they began interviewing the student's family members and close friends.

Nurses identified 10 students who may have been exposed to the disease, which is spread through direct contact with saliva, such as eating and drinking utensils, sharing a cigarette or kissing, said Gene Saderholm, county health department program director for school health services.

School nurses called their students' parents to recommend that they see their family doctors to determine whether they should be given antibiotics, Saderholm said.

Pub Date: 4/27/99

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