LEBANON, Tenn. -- A rare, serious and contagious illness is likely to blame for a kindergartner's death in Wilson County, according to health officials.Officials at Vanderbilt University Medical Center confirmed Southside Elementary School student Jeffrey Ian Tisdale's death Sunday. The state Health Department said it is investigating a "probable case" of meningococcal meningitis. Vanderbilt officials said lab testing results would confirm the boy's cause of death.The boy's parents said he showed symptoms, such as a fever and neck ache, Saturday. They said he was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, where he died three hours after arriving. Health department officials are treating close relatives because the illness can be spread through sharing drinks or kissing a person in the days before they become ill.Officials at the Wilson County school district said they do not believe the child's classmates are at high risk for contracting the illness.According to the Department of Health, the symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include fever, sudden severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea and vomiting. Those who are infected usually begin experiencing symptoms within two to seven days of exposure to another infected person.
Meningitis to blame in death of Wilson County child