Galilea Estevez, a bright and friendly 7-year-old at Shaughnessy Elementary School died on Tuesday due to contracting the fatal bacterial meningitis disease.
She had fever and headache and was sent home by the school. But later when her parents tried to wake her up and she did not budge she was taken to the Saints Memorial Medical Center in Lowell. There she was pronounced dead. She is the first child under 12 to die of
the disease in Massachusetts since 2003. Karla Baehr, Lowell's superintendent said that she was a wonderful little girl.
Bacterial meningitis in order to spread requires direct contact with the saliva of someone who is infected. Even so then there is 1 in 300 risk of developing the disease. But one can prevent the disease by taking a short course of antibiotics. Symptoms of meningitis include a raging fever, headache, and stiff neck.
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, chief disease tracker at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said that the disease is caused by a bacterium that is part of the normal microbial flora of the throat. In most people, it causes no harm. But when it enters the bloodstream and the central nervous system then it results in this fatal disease.
Frank Singleton, director of the Lowell Health Department said that the school is distributing free medicines to all those who have come in contact with the child. The antibiotic called Cipro is given to the adults as is not recommended for youngsters due to its undesirable side-effects. The kids are given two days' worth of a medicine called Rifampin.