Meningitis Takes the Lives of New York School Counselor and Student

NEW YORK – A guidance counselor at a Catholic school in Queens and a Long Island student have died of bacterial meningitis.

The counselor was a faculty member of Saint Francis Preparatory High School. Officials are investigating to determine if the victim’s relatives or close friends are at risk of contracting the disease. The victim died Jan. 25.

Massapequa High School student Michael Gruber, 17, died Jan. 24 from the illness. Health officials said Gruber’s case of meningococcal meningitis developed at a rapid rate.

Jan. 23, Gruber took a state Regents exam and went to bed with flu-like symptoms. The following morning, he was taken to a local hospital to receive treatment. He died later that afternoon, according to his relatives.

Abby Greenburg, acting Nassau County health commissioner said the teen was the first to die of the disease in Nassau County since 2004. She added that the bacterial infection is known to spread quickly; however, Gruber’s infection progressed more quickly than expected.

Gruber worked part-time as a supermarket stock boy and played basketball for the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Youth Organization team.

The county health department is advising those who had close contact with Gruber to get preventive treatment, as the germ can spread by direct, close contact with the infected person.

Meningitis infects the meninges, a lining covering the spinal cord and the brain. Symptoms include rash, high fever, vomiting, headache and a stiff neck.

Greenburg said about 300 people nationwide die from the illness, and 2,500 are infected.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo