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Northern Utah youth dies from bacterial meningitis

Published January 28, 2014 1:32 pm

Health • Officials say other students were not exposed.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A 12-year-old girl in northern Utah died last weekend from a rare form of bacterial meningitis.

Faith Hunter, a sixth-grader at Mount Logan Middle School, was treated last week at Primary Children's Hospital and died on Saturday surrounded by family, according to an obituary published in The Herald Journal.

Bear River Health Department officials say there's no need for parents to be concerned about the disease spreading to other schoolchildren.

"She wasn't in school during [the disease's] incubation time and there was no need for prophylaxis [treatment of children with antibiotics]," said the department's spokeswoman Jill Parker.

Additionally, state health officials report no spike in meningitis cases or deaths.

Meningitis is a rare disease caused by inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain or spinal cord. It's reported to public health authorities for tracking, but it can have a number of causes: viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal and stemming from injury or unknown origin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bacterial meningitis is contagious. It's spread through the exchange of saliva — kissing or sharing food and drinks — which is why it's typically confined to enclosed spaces, such as college dorms or military barracks.

kstewart@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KStewart4Trib