Oregon Public Broadcasting

Health officials in Clackamas and Multnomah Counties are investigating the death of a Central Catholic high school student as a suspected case of meningococcal disease.

17-year-old Jacob Parkhurst died last Tuesday, shortly after tweeting about being ill.

Counselors are on hand at Central Catholic to talk with students.

Paul Lewis is a health officer for Clackamas County. He says they don't know how Parkhurst contracted the infection:

"We're working with the hospital and our other public health officials to try to identify the cause of illness. We don't have any evidence of spread of illness to other people or within the community," Lewis said.

The illness is contagious, but not highly so. It's treated with antibiotics, but they are only recommended for people who've had prolonged face-to-face contact with an affected person.

The bacterial infection can be prevented through vaccination. But most cases in Oregon are caused by a strain of bacteria not included in the vaccine.

Central Catholic Statement

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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