ST. HELENS, OR (KPTV) — Friends and family members are mourning after a 16-year-old St. Helens High School student died Monday.
Doctors suspect Paul Lewis died from bacterial meningitis. Lewis was a sophomore at the high school and was on the school’s wrestling team.
The Columbia County Health Department is awaiting test results to confirm Lewis’ cause of death and continues to investigate, trying to figure out if anyone else could have been exposed.
Bacterial meningitis is spread through direct contact with mucus from a sick person’s nose or throat, but it’s not spread by being in the same room as a sick person. Symptoms can include fever, stiff neck, bad headaches, skin rash, weakness, or vomiting, according to officials.
The health department says it takes two to 10 days for symptoms to show after someone is exposed. They say if anyone thinks they’ve been exposed, they should see a doctor, as the disease can usually be treated with antibiotics.
St. Helens High School Tuesday had mental health professionals on campus to help students. The school said is was also giving students space to process their emotional needs. It said their community will be grieving together and will do whatever they can to support each other and Lewis’ family.
The health department expects to receive test results later this week.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with funeral costs.
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