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Boston Latin Student Dies Of Probable Bacterial Meningitis

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12-year-old Nina Zheng died from a probable bacterial meningitis infection.

12-year-old Nina Zheng died from a probable bacterial meningitis infection.

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BOSTON (CBS) – A seventh grade girl at Boston Latin Academy has died in a suspected case of bacterial meningitis, according to a Boston public health official.

“At this difficult time our hearts ache for the family and friends of this young student,” Mayor Tom Menino said in a statement. “We mourn her loss and join with the Boston Latin Academy in this hour of grief.”

Twelve-year-old Nina Zheng was rushed to a Boston hospital on Friday after she came down with symptoms of the illness.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

“Tonight, the entire Boston Public Schools community mourns the loss of one of our students,” Superintendent Carol R. Johnson said in a statement. “We send our most sincere condolences to those who loved her. We have assembled a team of counselors who are ready to work with the Boston Latin Academy community in the difficult days ahead.”

Meningitis is an infection of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.

The school has posted a fact sheet on bacterial meningitis on its web site.

According to the Boston Public Health Commission, fever, severe and persistent headache, stiff neck or neck pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash can all be signs of meningitis.

“The risk of transmission is very small,” Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the commission, said in a news conference Monday.

Barry said the girl came in close contact with about 50 people.  Authorities are recommending antibiotics for them.

Read: Meningitis Questions & Answers

Boston school department spokesman Matt Wilder said parents of students were notified during the weekend.

“We made phone calls home to all of our families and teachers at the school on Saturday. It’s a very low risk of transmission, that’s what we know. But we do want to take proper precautions,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Monday.

Health counselors were at the school Monday to talk with students and faculty.

About 1,800 students attend Boston Latin Academy.

Last week, an employee of Hopedale High School was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

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