Officials investigate preschooler's death

December 10, 2008 4:46:35 PM PST
A 4-year-old preschooler died from from a bacterial infection. At first, health officials suspected meningitis, but they've ruled that out. So what killed this little girl? The parents of the more than 600 children and teachers at the Stafford School experienced a variety of emotions since Monday. First, there was sorrow that a 4-year-old had died, and then terror that what killed the child could infect their own children. On Tuesday they were relieved that their children are not at risk after all. "We are in the same room as the little girl so we were informed right away," said parent Shaughna Green. The greens are headed to the doctor's office. The family has four children. Their playful 4-year-old girl is in the same Sratford Preschool class as the 4-year-old who died Monday of a bacterial infection. It was first suspected to be meningococcal bacteria which could cause meningitis. And on Monday, letters were sent out to parents of the more than 600 students notified of the possible infection. The meningococcal bacteria has since been ruled out but the cause of the girls death is still unknown. The Greens are not taking any chances. "We're in limbo and well be taking preventative stance just in case. Its bacterial antibiotics will kill it if it's something worse than that we'll be alarmed and concerned," said parent Greg Green. The Greens and other parents were shocked by the death of the 4-year-old. Sherry Adams, the founder and principal of the Stratford School, says the unexpected death is tough on everyone. "She was performing on stage Friday in her little penguin outfit singing and dancing," said Adams. County health officials are trying to reassure parents, telling them today whatever killed the little girl is not likely a risk to their children. "No, I am not concerned. I want to know what happened but i just really feel for the family," said parent Kelly Primeau. Dr. Sara Cody says the contagious and often deadly meningococcal bacteria has definitely been ruled out as the cause of death. She is the Deputy Director of the Santa Clara County Health Services. "The child probably died of a bacteria that is not a risk to others. An infection but not one that would pose a risk to others," said Dr. Cody. She said that with quite a bit of certainty citing the preliminary autopsy results that were received on Tuesday morning. The bacteria that caused the girl's death is now being cultured in the Santa Cruz Health Department lab to determine just what it is and the girls actual cause of death.


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