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High school student in Tuscarawas County dies from probable case of bacterial meningitis

Posted at 10:58 AM, Dec 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-17 10:37:39-05

A student at a Tuscarawas County high school has died from what appears to be a "probable case of bacterial meningitis," according to Ira Wentworth, the superintendent at Indian Valley Local Schools.

The school district announced on Saturday morning they are working with the county health department to take appropriate action to safeguard students and faculty from exposure.

According to school officials, a student exhibiting symptoms of bacterial meningitis rode a bus earlier this week with other students at the high school, located in Gnadenhutten Village.

Family identified the student as 14-year-old Ryan Freeland.

The district notified anyone who came into close contact with the student to go to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.

In the letter, the school sent out an advisory from the health department regarding the incident: 

Signs and symptoms often occur abruptly, as it did with this case. This individual did not exhibit symptoms until December 14.

This “probable” case may take several days to “confirm.”

The general public or individuals who did not come in close contact with this case should not be concerned at the current time as this appears to be an isolated case.

Is less contagious than the common cold.

Is not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

The bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (i.e. coughing, kissing).


As a precaution, the school district will close Indian Valley High School on Dec. 18 to disinfect the school bus, classrooms, drinking fountains, restrooms and any other area that may be contaminated, officials said.

All other schools will remain open.