FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBS 2) – Students from Matawan Regional High School in New Jersey were overcome with grief Monday as they attended the funeral of a 17-year-old senior, who died of bacterial meningitis over the weekend.
Chris Dhume’s symptoms came on last Thursday night. He was rushed to the hospital Friday and died Saturday night.
Doctors said they don’t know how Dhume contracted the illness, but said he became sick with a fever, headache, blotchy rash and “progressed very rapidly.”
Dhume was the captain of his soccer team at school, where students started their day by gathering at his locker.
“He was a really good kid. We used to play tag. He was really nice,” one student told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.
“He was a good kid. Just want to know why it happened to him. He was fine on Thursday. It happened over night,” sophomore Brian Leibell said.
Superintendent Richard O’Malley also said Dhume’s mother was an employee of the district.
“It’s affected most of us throughout the community,” O’Malley said.
Bacterial meningitis is spread through saliva. It can be contracted by sharing utensils and drinks along with living in the same household, kidding, sneezing and coughing.
Symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, feeling tired, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting.
The newest meningitis vaccine with the longer duration of immunity came out in 2005. Last year, it became a requirement for 11-year-olds in New Jersey’s school system. If people believe their child may have had the vaccine before then, the best thing they could do is check with their doctor.