Officials find no link between meningitis case and mycoplasma


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Health investigators have found no link between an elementary student who contracted meningitis and three others in the state who were infected with encephalitis, officials said Saturday.

Mycoplasma bacteria was blamed for the cases of encephalitis in Warwick and West Warwick in the last few weeks. Dylan Gleavey, a second-grade student at Warwick’s Greenwood Elementary School, died from the neurological illness last month.

But test results received Saturday from a student at Hopkins Hill Elementary School in Coventry who contracted meningitis showed the child did not have mycoplasma, the Health Department said in a statement.

Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes protecting the brain, and encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. Mycoplasma can occasionally cause such neurological complications.

Experts from the Rhode Island Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are investigating the encephalitis cases to establish “if there are links between those cases, if there are links between those cases and pneumonia – that’s the real interest,” state Education Department spokesman Elliot Krieger said.

All public schools and after-school activities were closed Thursday and Friday in Warwick, West Warwick and Coventry. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence also closed eight schools in those communities as a precaution, although there were no known cases there.

Health officials said the schools would reopen Monday.