Could H1N1 be to blame for a Ardmore student's death?

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ARDMORE, OK -- The H1N1 Virus has been confirmed throughout many communities, but Tuesday night many Ardmore parents called KXII-TV concerned that an elementary school student may have died from complications to the H1N1 Virus and bacterial meningitis.

Ardmore CIty Schools, along with area health officials, are remaining very tight-lipped about this particular case. Both school and medical professionals say they must maintain strict confidentiality, because it involves a young student who became very ill. But health experts and school administrators tell us there is no cause for parents to panic.

The Ardmore City School board began their regularly scheduled, Tuesday night board meeting a little differently. They opened with a prayer for a family they say is going through a crisis.

Several parents and sources throughout the community say that family is mourning the loss of a loved one, a Charles Evans Elementary School student who reportedly died from bacterial meningitis after contracting the H1N1 virus.

"I cannot confirm any of that, what I can tell you is that we have been in very close contact with the Carter County Health Department, who in turn has been in very close contact with Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City,” Superintendent Dr. Ruth Ann Carr explained after the board meeting.

Dr. Carr says she's received no written confirmation from any health authority whether the young boy had been diagnosed with H1N1 or bacterial meningitis. However, Dr. Carr says other Charles Evans Elementary School students or parents need not panic.

"Again, let me reassure you that we have talked about several situations with the health department given those rumors and ask if those were true, if the rumors were true, would there be any danger to other children here at Charles Evans, and they have told us no,” Dr. Carr stated.

Dr. Dereck Landis is a pediatrician with Mercy Memorial. He says while his office has seen more than 100 cases of Influenza A – which includes seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus - in the last six week, most cases remain mild and do not pose extreme health risks.

"A certain percentage of kids are going to have an outcome that we'd rather not deal with, but that’s a very low number. A very, very high percentage of kids recover quickly and go back to their normal activities,” Dr. Landis explained.

Dr. Landis says common complications with any type of flu include dehydration and/or phenomena, not bacterial meningitis infections. The pediatrician says it's about using common sense, but if your child contracts the flu and their health appears to worsen, see your doctor.

"I would look for signs of dehydration, lack of urination in a small child; I would look for a changing cough that has become a very deep productive, violent sounding cough and certainly a change in fever,” Dr. Landis explained.

Dr. Carr says the school district continues to monitor any student or staff health issues, and adds if parents have any questions or concerns to contact their student’s school or the Carter County Health Department so their fears can be put to rest.

Dr. Carr says the Ardmore Schools will have additional counselors on hand if children at Charles Evans need help coping or just need to talk, and the district is already putting extra cleaning efforts in place, like wiping down desks and door knobs. In addition, the Carter County Health Department will be offering H1N1 nasal mist vaccines at the Ardmore Middle School on Friday.

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