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.

Comments (12)
  1. SpeakingFromExperience says:

    Maybe it’s because they work their students to the bone…

  2. Lynn says:

    As a parent who has lost a son to bacterial meningitis, I will pray for this girl’s recovery. When my son died, I did not know that a vaccine was available that could have saved his life. Because of his death, I became one of the founders of the National Meningitis Association, and I hope to spare other families from what my family has endured. Please be aware of the CDC recommendations. Routine vaccination is recommended for all 11-12 year olds, with a booster dose in five years. All college students should have been vaccinated within five years of starting college. Don’t think that this can’t happen to your family, because it can. It happened to mine. Please visit our Web site for more information.

    1. tsal says:

      Lynn Thank you for all you have done. I am so sorry for your loss. I also am praying for this girl’s recovery.

    2. Vera Carroll says:

      Thank you Lynn for the information. I am very sorry for the loss of your son.

  3. Italo says:

    This is awful at anytime for anyone, but particularly at a time like this, during the Thanksgiving Holiday week. They say the risk of transmission is very low, but that is no comfort to families of those like this student who contracted it fatally. Sorry to hear and thinking of the student’s loved ones at this time.

  4. Willow says:

    Our hearts were grieved when we heard of this child’s death on the news this evening. Our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this dear little one.

    Lynn, I’m terribly sorry for your loss too, and how wonderful of you to pass on such important information. God bless you!

  5. Boston Latin Academy Student says:

    As a student at Boston Latin Academy, I m very upset by Ninas death. it”s so sad that she was so young. they’ had greif councelers come in to school for any students/teacheres who needed them. all of the students found out about the whole meningtus thing over the weekend, and by monday everybody knew who it was and what had happened. we leared that she was brain dead, and by that night everyone recieved an email from the school that she had passed. its so sad. when i got onto facebookthat night, there were tons of status’s in Ninas memory. tomorrows school spirt day will be for nina<3 good bless and rest easy Nina #onlythegooddieyoung

  6. Melissa says:

    My heart goes out to this family. I lost my daughter who was 11 last year on Dec. 8, 2010 to bacterial meningitis. It was a horrifying experience to go through. It is so painful to watch your child suffer in that way. I wish peace for this family. I know that won’t ease their pain. Nothing will at this time. I truly am sorry for their loss.

  7. bla student says:

    As a student of BLA my heart feels like its bin ripped out and crushed on because i was lucky enough to know her even though i knew her briefly what ive gone through these past days is undescribable their feels lik theirs something missing in school because their is a wonderful person who brought happiness and loVe
    <3 Once a dragon always a dragon!


    tis is so sad and its A TERRIBLE TIME AND I KNOW THIS IS LATE <3 <3 <3

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