Copenhagen teenager dies from dreaded disease

No apparent link between this week’s death from infectious meningitis and one at a high school earlier this month

An 18-year-old boy from Copenhagen died on Monday of meningococcal disease, also known as infectious meningitis, according to the patient safety agency, Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed.

“We have also been in contact with the deceased boy’s school, where school staff and students have been informed,” said Anette Lykke Petri, head physician at patient safety agency.

The rare disease is serious, but even though it is known as infectious meningitis, there are few cases reported in Denmark. In 2015, there were 40 cases reported, only a few of which were fatal.

Preventative medicine
Earlier this month, the students and staff at Birkerød Gymnasium in north Zealand offered preventive treatment for the disease after a 17-year-old student there died of the disease on January 1 of this year. Another student at Birkerød Gymnasium contracted the disease, and approximately 1,000 students and staff at the school accepted the offer of preventive treatment.

Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed stressed that there is no indication that the deaths are related.

Infectious meningitis cases are often isolated and only family and friends of the infected person are at risk. The disease most frequently affects children, teenagers and young adults.