CHICAGO
05/08/2013 11:44 am ET

Lindblom School Closed: Meningitis Death Of 16-Year-Old Prompts School To Shut Doors As 'Precaution'

Chicago Public School officials opted to close Lindblom Math & Science Academy as a "precaution" Wednesday after a 16-year-old student died of bacterial meningitis on Monday.

Savon Smith, a student at the West Englewood school, was found dead in his bed Monday morning by his mother, Nicole Smith, according to WGN.

Smith says her son complained of headaches throughout the weekend and was lethargic, but told WGN the teen didn't show any other common signs of meningitis, like a stiff neck or a rash.

"When the decision was made to close the school, we were not certain what sort of meningitis it was," Principal Alan Mather said Wednesday morning according to the Tribune. "We did hear that it was a noncontagious form of bacterial meningitis and thought precaution is better.

Mather learned of Smith's death shortly before the end of the school day on Tuesday, and ABC Chicago reports Lindblom parents were notified via robocall Tuesday night of the school closure.

According the Center for Disease Control, bacterial meningitis can be transmitted through "respiratory or throat secretions" like kissing, but notes "most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu."

(Read more from the CDC about meningitis.)

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a Tuesday statement "there is no immediate health risk to students or staff."

The Sun-Times reports school officials concluded there was no outbreak of meningitis or meningococcal disease, based on preliminary reports and an investigation by the school.

Mather said Savon was a good kid who also ran the school's martial arts club. “He was just a nice young man,” Mather told CBS Chicago. “He sort of ran [the club] on his own. So he was engaged in school. He had a number of friends at school, who clearly are hurting right now."

In year's past, CPS has closed schools, largely due to highly contagious flu outbreaks. Earlier in 2013, several people died and hundreds became sick around the U.S. due to a fungal meningitis outbreak related to tainted spinal injections.

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