PORTLAND — Students and teachers at Central Catholic High School are mourning the sudden death of a student. Grief counselors are helping them cope with the news of Jacob Parkhurst’s passing.
The 17-year-old junior died Tuesday from a severe invasive bacterial infection. Doctors will know for sure what it was later this week. The case was first thought to be meningococcal disease, an infection of the covering on the brain.
His family had this statement: “We are all deeply saddened and heartbroken at this time. We ask that you respect our privacy while we grieve our loss. Thank you.”
Jacob is remembered as a good student who was well-liked and very involved in athletics and campus ministry. He will be remembered on Sunday at the Resort at the Mountain in Welches. An informal service is planned for 2:00pm.
“We are providing safe spaces for students to grieve and have counselors and administrators in the classes the student would have attended today,” said principal John Garrow.
Health officials sent a letter to parents telling them some kids need to be treated for exposure to the disease. The school also posted a notice on their website.
“Our sympathies go out to the Parkhurst family and the entire community of people who knew Jake,” said county health officer Dr. Paul Lewis.
Also called meningitis, it’s treatable with antibiotics if found early enough. Some of the signs and symptoms are fever, headache, stiffness and pain in the neck, back and shoulders, nausea, vomiting, and a skin rash of small red or purple spots.
About 40 people in Oregon are infected with meningitis each year with the death rate less than 15 percent. The disease is contagious to those with intimate contact.