Parkville Middle pupil diagnosed with meningitis

No connection seen with university case

March 09, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Parkville Middle School pupils and parents were informed yesterday that a pupil has been stricken with meningitis -- the same disease that killed a Towson University student this week.

According to health officials, Parkville Middle School pupil Christopher Vananzo, 14, is ill with meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial form of the disease that attacks the spinal cord and outer lining of the brain,

Vananzo was listed in critical condition at Sinai Hospital last evening, said hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Genello.

Health officials see no connection between the Parkville Middle case and the case at Towson University. Joseph "Pat" Kepferle, a Towson University freshman who died Sunday, contracted meningococcal bacterium, which affects the blood system.

"It rings all sorts of bells, but our studies have shown no association between the two cases," said Dr. Barbara McLean, a physician with the Baltimore County Health Department's communicable disease section. "We've questioned [Vananzo's] parents, and they said he didn't visit Towson University. He didn't know anyone there."

Vananzo, who celebrated his birthday last weekend, attended three parties, said McLean, who has asked the boy's parents to list everyone he might have encountered during the past 10 days.

It is relatively difficult to contract meningitis, McLean said. "Only those people who have had direct, face-to-face contact with [Vananzo] should seek preventive medicine," she said. "People in his household are at the most risk."

Parents who believe their children might have come in close contact with Vananzo should seek medical advice from their family physician. For more information or physician referral, call 410-887-4214 or 410-887-6011.

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