Update (2:36 p.m. on Oct. 3)

Officials with the Monroe County Coroner’s Office in Bloomington identified the 5-year-old who died as Benjamin Bartalone. Officials said that Bartalone did not die from bacterial meningitis.

“The cause of death is pending further testing and preliminary manner of death is natural,” the release said.

Original Story:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Officials with the Monroe County Health Department announced Monday that it is continuing to investigate a possible case of meningitis in a 5-year-old student at a local elementary school after he died late last month from “an apparent illness.”

According to a news release from the department, a possible case of meningitis was discovered in the student, who went to Rogers Elementary School in Bloomington. Officials with the department said on Monday that initial findings have ruled out bacterial meningitis but “not other serious life-threatening bacterial infections or viral meningitis.”

“Further tests are pending at this time,” the release said.

Officials with the Monroe County Coroner’s Office said the death of the student on the morning of Sept. 29 was not caused by meningitis. Officials said his cause of death is pending due to further tests needing to be conducted.

Officials described meningitis as an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Feeling unwell
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion
  • Aches and pains
  • Pale skin
  • Rash

Officials said out of an abundance of caution, the department contacted those who were considered to be close contacts to the student and asked for them to take a preventative antibiotic. All those who potentially were exposed are asked to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of potential infection and seek medical attention.

Those who were not notified or those who “may have had brief, casual contact” are not considered to be at risk, according to the department.

“The health department is working with the Indiana Department of Health regarding this matter and will update the public and the Monroe County Community School System as more information becomes available,” the release said.

Because of the age of the student, officials with the coroner’s office said that his name is being withheld pending notification of his classmates and extended family. Officials expect for his name to be released on Tuesday.

For further questions, individuals are asked to contact the department at (812) 349-2543.