BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A serious case of bacterial meningitis caused a Long Island teenager to collapse and go into a coma.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the 17-year-old junior attends two schools — John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, and Barry Tech BOCES of Nassau County in Westbury — where he studies electrical contracting.
He’s slowly recovering from a critical case of meningitis.
“He was in a coma for a few days. He was out of it sometime yesterday,” a friend said.
Shaken friends described their classmate as, ‘now off a respirator,’ and ‘very lucky.’
His relieved parents shared a photo and put a message out on social media.
“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support. Our son is not completely out of the woods yet, but he is on his way,” they wrote.
“Scary stuff you know — the teacher had connections to that too, so did friends — so not something to be messed around with,” Sam Zavelson said.
The state health department sent notifications — meningitis caught early, can be treated with antibiotics.
“Everybody is just a little bit worried. I think he’s going to be okay, personally, I hope he gets better,” classmate Jason Baker said.
The disease is spread by respiratory and oral secretions — kissing, sharing drinks, or utensils, even lipstick.
Meningitis infects the bloodstream, and can lead to brain damage, amputations, and sometimes even death.
“It is from a public health perspective, a medical emergency, and we know that at any hospital in Nassau County, a patient is going to get top level care,” Nassau Health Commissioner, Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said, “Our role is to make sure no one else in the community contracts the disease.”
The Bellmore-Merrick superintendent alerted district families on its website.
“Anyone who had close contact with the student within the ten days before May 3, should contact a doctor immediately,” the district advised.
The health commissioner said his investigation and notifications continue. Parents of teens should look for early warning signs including; a rash, stiff neck, high fever, and vomiting.
Doctors added that parents should not panic. The risk from causal contact is not significant enough to warrant concern.