Meningitis strain still a mystery

Health officials continue to work to identify strain that claimed the life of Cloverdale-area student.

Brandon Kurtz.

It may never be determined which strain of bacterial meningitis claimed the life of Clayton Heights Secondary student Brandon Kurtz last week.

As of Tuesday, no new cases of the infection had been reported, Fraser Health Authority spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward said.

Officials hadn’t confirmed the diagnosis, but hadn’t given up on identifying the precise strain.

It’s possible antibiotics used to treat the ailing 15-year-old may have killed off enough of the bacteria to preclude an identification.

“Nobody’s doubting that it’s a bacterial meningococcal infection,” Thorpe-Dorward said. “But it might be impossible to get an identification of the kind or strain.”

Students, parents and guardians, and staff at the Cloverdale-area high school received a letter last week explaining one of their classmates had passed away and that meningitis was the suspected cause.

Fraser Health does not believe there is a risk to the general student population at Clayton Heights, or the public at large.

“People shouldn’t be alarmed,” Thorpe-Dorward said. “All the steps are being followed.”

Public health nurses have now completed the task of administering preventative antibiotics to those who were known to have been in close contact with the student.

The bacteria is spread by direct contact with the saliva of an infected person, such as sharing a water bottle or a musical instrument.

Anyone in close contact with the boy between Sept. 8 and 19 and who has not yet gotten in touch with health officials is asked to contact the Cloverdale Public Health Unit at 604-575-5100 or HealthLinkBC at 811.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain, and can affect the lining of the brain or cause a blood infection.

It can lead to brain damage or death. The symptoms are flu-like and may include fever, a severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, confusion, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights or a bruise-like rash.

About 10 per cent of people who develop the disease die, according to Health Canada.

– With files from Sheila Reynolds, Black PressFollow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

Man injured in reported stabbing near Surrey SkyTrain station

Incident happened around 9 p.m. Friday night

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Most Read