Indiana Teen on Life Support, School Sanitized


Harrison Fidler, 14 years old, is on life support at a Fort Wayne, Indiana hospital. He began showing flu-like symptoms on Wednesday (Jan 28). His parents took him from their home in North Webster to the Fort Wayne hospital on Thursday.

Home-schooled Harrison attends Wawasee Middle School daily for an eighth-grade science class.

As a precaution, the school was sanitized over the weekend while the Indiana State Department of Health investigates whether bacterial meningitis is what hospitalized a 14-year-old boy.

Faced with the fact that their son has had no brain activity since Saturday, his parents say they plan to donate eight of his organs because that is what he would want them to do.


The Kosciusko County Health Department has contacted people who had close contact with Harrison and recommended they be treated with antibiotics.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment.

Bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, or death. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.

A high fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness.

In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. The infant may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly.

Associated Press
Center for Disease Control and Prevention