Pasco County boy dies after family says he came down with meningitis

6:03 PM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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Pasco County, Florida -- A four-year-old boy is dead Wednesday night and the Pasco County Health Department is investigating whether or not bacterial meningitis is the cause.

The family of Amonti Saunders said Sunday morning the boy woke up with a rash and flu-like symptoms, and within hours he was gone.

Doctors confirmed he had meningitis, and the hospital coroner later said he died of the illness, but the Health Department is still waiting on official autopsy reports to confirm meningitis as the cause of death.

"It's scary. It takes your life in 12 hours. One day, he's here, the next thing he's gone," says Miranda Hill, Amonti's cousin.

"His heart started to shut down and tongue started swelling," added Hill.

His family said when Amonti came down the symptoms, his mom knew something was wrong so she rushed him to help.

"They pumped for an hour. There was nothing they could do," said Hill.

Amonti died shortly after he got to the hospital.

"It has to be somewhere in Pasco County. Where he got it from...we want to know how," said Hill.

His family notified his daycare. They immediately called the Department of Health.

"We decided to close on Monday and cleaning personnel cleaned," said Mark Schiefer, education chair of Kid's Safari Christian Preschool.

As a precaution, the school notified parents and all children who may have come in contact with Amonti got vaccinated.

"It makes you analyze cold and flu symptoms a lot more," said Antonio Hunter, a parent whose kids attend the daycare.

Parents at the daycare say although no one knows where Amonti contracted meningitis from, they are being safe.

"Kids' health is the number one factor," said Hunter.

For Amonti's family, they just hope they can use their tragedy to send a message.

"Don't look past any symptoms. If it's not right, check if it's not normal," said Hill.

Amonti's funeral is planned for Sunday.

According to the Pasco County Health District, there have been two reported cases of meningitis in Pasco County this year. Both people survived. But in 2011, there were also two cases and one was fatal.

Symptoms for meningitis include flu-like symptoms, including a rash. It can be transferred through saliva.

Both of these links will take you to more information regarding meningitis.

For information from the Florida Department of Health visit:

For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visit:


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