Teen with meningitis dies

The father of an Okanagan teenager who was diagnosed with meningococcal disease and passed away earlier this year has spoken out about his family's loss.

Aidan Pratt, a 19-year-old from Oliver, passed away on Oct. 12, with meningitis being the suspected cause.

His celebration of life was held on Oct. 21 at the Eastlink Curling Centre in Oliver.

"He was a good kid, he knew everybody... He was the good guy that everybody wanted to have around," Lee Pratt said on his son Aidan.

"This is absolutely the worst thing anybody can go through."

Lee said his son was found dead on the bathroom floor of his home, and a preliminary autopsy indicated Aidan had internal bleeding in his brain, pancreas, liver and other organs when he died. 

He added that Aidan was a "healthy kid" overall, before his health problems began weeks before his passing.

Aidan first visited the emergency room at the Oliver General Hospital on Sept. 21, Lee said, when "he couldn't sleep, lay down or bend over without extreme, burning pain."

Lee said Aidan then saw his family doctor on Sept. 27 regarding his symptoms, where he was given a prescription but was assured his symptoms wouldn't get worse.

He passed away 15 days later.

Lee added his son may have caught the disease from a female who attends Oliver Secondary School.

The female was one of two students at the high school who were later diagnosed with the disease, Lee said. IH didn't publicly confirm the two cases until Nov. 9.

Dr. Karin Goodison, a medical health officer for IH, confirmed three cases of the disease have been identified in Oliver. 

IH couldn't comment on the disease's connection to Aidan's death. The health agency previously said a teenager with the disease died this year, but didn't specify if meningitis was the direct cause.

An outbreak of the disease was declared by IH on Dec. 14 — more than two months after Aidan's passing — when 11 cases had been reported in the Okanagan.

On Thursday, a 12th case was confirmed in the Thompson-Cariboo region. IH is in the process of determining whether it is connected to the Okanagan or not. 

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