NEW PHILADEPHIA -- The Tuscarawas County Health Department held a press conference Thursday to address two deadly meningitis cases they've seen in the past two weeks.
During the press conference, Health Commissioner Katie M. Seward confirmed the presence of bacterial meningitis in both cases, but stressed the two were not related. She also discussed how many Americans are in fact carriers of bacteria that cause meningitis, but they may not even know it.
The first fatal case took the life of 14 year-old Ryan Freeland on Dec. 14, leading to the closure of Indian Valley High School for a day for cleaning.
The Health Department said he contracted bacterial meningitis and recommended the cleaning of the bathroom and school bus Ryan used. His family said there had no warning signs he was sick prior to the day he collapsed at school.
The most recent death was Dec. 26, when a staff member at Dundee Elementary School became sick.
Though both cases were at schools, the health department confirms they were not related.