Johns Hopkins student likely died from an infection



Baltimore & Region

October 28, 2005|By NICOLE FULLER

A Johns Hopkins University student who died Wednesday morning likely fell ill because of a bacterial infection - not an allergic reaction he thought he was experiencing, university officials said yesterday.

A preliminary blood test suggested that 19-year-old Gilbert Duvalsaint's death was the result of a meningococcal infection, which can lead to bacterial meningitis, said university spokesman Dennis O'Shea.

Duvalsaint had been vaccinated against meningitis, a state requirement for students living in university housing. An autopsy was being conducted.

University officials advised those who frequently ate or slept in the same space as Duvalsaint or who came into contact with his saliva through kissing or through sharing utensils, glasses, bottles or toothbrushes since Oct. 14 to seek treatment at the student health center.

Duvalsaint, a sophomore engineering student from Searingtown, N.Y., was taken to nearby Union Memorial Hospital about 3 a.m. after complaining of a swollen tongue and sore throat. He died about 10:30 a.m.

A member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, he served as a student ambassador for prospective students and their families.

Duvalsaint was "really one of the kindest kids I know," said Nick Hernandez, the fraternity's president, who saw him Sunday and Monday. "He seemed fine, like there was nothing wrong. And we found out he passed away. It's a complete shock."

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