According to a story from the Houston Chronicle, a five year old boy named Myles Cheatham was admitted to the Spring Clinic two days after experiencing symptoms of what was initially believed to be a stomach bug. However, the boy’s condition worsened rapidly and now health officials from Montgomery County believe that Myles died from bacterial meningitis, an uncommon and dangerous infectious disease.
Meningitis is a disease in which the protective membranes around the spinal cord and brain, known as the meninges, become inflamed. Because of how close the inflammation is to the spine and brain, meningitis constitutes a medical emergency that must be addressed in a timely fashion. Meningitis can appear from a diverse array of causes such as certain drugs and infection from certain microbes, such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Characteristic symptoms of the disease include headaches, stiff neck, and an altered state of consciousness. Other symptoms include fever, intolerance of loud noises and light, and vomiting. Without prompt treatment, meningitis can inflict long-term problems such as cognitive disability, deafness, and epilepsy. Treatment depends on the cause, but if the disease is suspected, antibiotics are recommended as soon as possible, even if the definite diagnosis hasn’t been confirmed. In the Western world, bacterial meningitis is rare. To learn more about meningitis, click here.
A Tragic Story
The diagnosis of children with bacterial meningitis can be difficult because children are less likely to display any of the characteristic symptoms. Vomiting, sleepiness, poor feeding, and irritability are common. Myles’ symptoms could have easily been mistaken for countless other less serious illnesses, and he came down with a fever and stomach pain. Tylenol seemed to be helping, but his condition took a quick turn for the worse and he began to display shortness of breath and vomiting. This was when his parents realized that something more serious could be going on.
The boy’s heart suddenly stopped, and first responders were unable to revive him. The shocking death of Myles highlights the dangers the bacterial meningitis can pose; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that death from meningitis when untreated can happen in just a few hours.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Myles’ family to help cover funeral costs.