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New York meningitis death

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A 12-year-old Rockland County girl has died of bacterial meningitis, according to public health officials.

She died Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern.

The girl was a sixth-grade student at St. Gregory Barbarigo Elementary, a Catholic School in Garnerville.

The school is currently closed for the Easter holiday but parents are being notified.

Dr. Anil Vaidian, the acting medical director of the Rockland County Health Department, and his staff are tracking down classmates, parents, teachers, and anyone else who came into close contact with the child because they will need preventive antibiotic treatments.

"Close contact" with the girl is considered coming into contact with her saliva though kissing, sharing drinks or food, or sharing spoons, forks, or other utensils, officials said.

Health officials said that the period of exposure was Friday, March 22, through Friday, March 29, 2013.

People who had casual contact with the girl do not need to get antibiotics, health officials said.

Father Joseph Lamorte told Fox 5's Lisa Evers that St. Gregory Barbarigo will have special counselors available to the children when they return from Easter break next week.

So far, no one else has become ill, the Rockland Health Department said.

Meningitis is a severe bacterial infection that covers the brain and spinal cord. It causes high fever, headache, vomiting and stiff neck and can lead to brain damage, hearing loss and death.

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