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.

Just Posted

Struggles of South Asian gays and lesbians documented in new film

‘Taboo topic’ explored in Sher Vancouver-backed ‘Emergence’ doc movie, due out next year

Man charged after alleged ‘violent’ robbery at Surrey SkyTrain station

41-year-old Aaron Sutherland, of no fixed address, is ‘well known to police’

Police looking for ‘high risk’ missing man last seen at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Delta Police spokeswoman Cris Leykauf says Adam Summers is deemed a high risk due to medical reasons

Surrey RCMP find no evidence of gunfire after report of shots fired

Police say investigation ongoing; CCTV footage is being reviewed

Surrey boccia champ is back competing after beating breast cancer

Fleetwood’s Mildred Thomas among winners at 2019 Canadian Boccia Championships

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Province ‘reinforcing’ new rules for party buses as holiday season approaches

Ministry reminds the public that it’s against the law to consume alcohol, cannabis inside a vehicle

University of Victoria researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

What’s happening: week of Dec. 5

Events and community listings for North Delta

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Thieving gun-toting Santa breaks into Princeton restaurant, makes icing sugar sandwich

The suspect allegedly made a sandwich of icing sugar and ham

Most Read