Officials: Student meningitis death unrelated to outbreak

Coral Reef Senior High School student, 18, dies of bacterial meningitis

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – A Coral Reef Senior High School student died after contracting bacterial meningitis, but health officials said his death is not related to the fungal meningitis deaths linked to contaminated pain injections.

Christopher R. Valdes, 18, died at 8 a.m. Friday, Miami-Dade police said.

The Miami-Dade Health Department held a news conference Friday night at which Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry said people would have had to be in contact with Valdes' saliva to become infected with meningitis.

"Not every single person who knew [Valdes] has to be worried," said Mejia-Echeverry.

Mejia-Echeverry said the teen died within an hour of arriving at a local hospital Friday.

Officials said the teenager had visited an urgent car Thursday, but that the name of the center was being withheld from the public.

Officials with Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Health Department said procedures were being followed to safeguard the health of students and faculty at Coral Reef Senior High School.

"Children have a tendency to not be as cautious as far as sharing lipstick, makeup and stuff like that, and the kissing there is a little more promiscuous than they should be," said Patricia Harper Garrett, a retired Miami-Dade County teacher.

PHOTOS: Meningitis: What you need to know

Letters were sent home to the families of students detailing the symptoms of the disease. 

READ: Letter sent to parents

Miami-Dade County Public Schools' Student Services Crisis Management Team has been notified and will respond to the school as needed.