A St. Helens High School student died Monday and health officials suspect bacterial meningitis may have caused his death.
Paul Lewis, 16, was a sophomore and a member of the high school wrestling team. One student walking to lunch Tuesday afternoon described him as a “good kid,” KGW reported.
According to Columbia County health officials, Lewis had a immunocompromised health system after surviving leukemia as a child.
Lewis starting experiencing symptoms Sunday and was rushed to Randall Children’s hospital in Portland. He passed away Monday.
A message was sent to St Helens High School families early Tuesday, letting them know of the students death and to watch for signs of others being infected.
Bacterial meningitis is a communicable disease that spreads from person to person when there is direct contact with mucus from an infected person’s nose or throat. The disease does not spread through casual contact or by simply being in the same room as an infected person.
Columbia County Public Health is conducting an investigation to determine who had contact with the deceased student. Public Health staff is directly contacting individuals who were potentially exposed to make sure they get preventive antibiotics.