Oregon high school student dies of suspected meningococcal disease

Oregon high school student dies of suspected meningococcal disease
Jacob Parkhurst.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A student at Portland’s Central Catholic High School has died of what appeared to be meningococcal disease.

Jacob Parkhurst, a 17-year-old junior, died Tuesday evening. Meningococcal disease was the suspected cause of death, county health officials said.

"Jacob Parkhurst died shortly after 7 last night surrounded by family, loved ones, friends; peacefully, beautifully," said Central Catholic High School Principal John Garrow.

The Multnomah County medical examiner said Parkhurst died within 24 hours of being admitted to a hospital.

The school released a statement about Parkhurst's death on its website.

The statement said health care professionals are determining who at the school might be at an elevated risk of contracting the disease. They plan to contact those individuals to implement preventative measures.

According to the CDC, quick medical attention is extremely important if meningococcal disease is suspected because the illness moves fast. The symptoms can appear quickly or over several days. They include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.

Parkhurst tweeted about being sick one day before he died.

His profile has been removed from Twitter.

Parkhurst’s mother, Kathy Mayhew, posted about her son’s death on Facebook on Tuesday night.

“Tonight at 7:07pm my amazing son Jacob Scott Parkhurst devastatingly pass away. He was such an amazing person and touched the hearts of many wonderful people,” she said.

The family released a statement to the media through Garrow.

"We are all very deeply saddened and heartbroken at this time," the statement said. "We ask that you respect our privacy while we grieve our loss."

Counselors were on hand for students and staff at Central Catholic High School on Wednesday.

The Central Catholic Spirit Council encouraged students to wear black on Wednesday to mourn Parkhurst.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.