Northview High School Senior, Malcolm "Mac" McLin, 17, of Brazil, died unexpectedly Monday at St. Vincent Clay Hospital. The cause, unknown at press time, was suspected to be meningitis.
An autopsy was scheduled by the Clay County Coroner's Office for the purpose of performing a spinal fluid culture test to determine the presence and type of meningitis. The process takes 24-hours for the culture to develop. At that time, doctors can determine if meningitis was the cause of death and if it is a contagious form.
"At this time, I cannot confirm or deny any specifics of cases that are of public health interest due to the state's confidentiality laws," Clay County Public Health Nurse, Jennifer Lucas, R.N.,said.
The department is happy to provide general information to the public regarding health issues. When asked about the disease meningitis, she said "the community was at low risk."
Meningitis may or may not be contagious, according to The Centers for Disease Control.
There are two forms of meningitis: viral and bacterial. The most common form is viral meningitis.
The bacteria that produces meningitis is present everywhere. According to the CDC Web site, the human body is exposed to the bacteria every day.
Meningitis is treatable with antibiotics. Most children are vaccinated against meningitis with the HIB vaccine.
Preliminary results of the autopsy are expected to be released later today.
The Brazil Times has learned that school officials have policies in place to deal with the possibility this may a contagious form of meningitis. Final decisions on how school officials would deal with contagious meningitis were not clear at press time.
"Malcolm was really coming into his own this year," Northview High School Principal Jim Church said, explaining that "Mac" was overcoming the tough stuff of life to reach graduation this spring. "He was always so respectful to me. I am greatly saddened by his death."
Working at McDonalds with plans to attend Lincoln Tech in the fall, McLin loved outdoor trips with family, working on cars with his father and paintball. He was an active member of 4-H Forever and 4-H Rocket Club.
He is survived by his parents Ronald "Dewey" McLin, Jr. and Peggy McLin, his brother Charlie McLin and many other family members from the area.
Visitation will be Friday from 4-8 p.m. and again prior to the services on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lawson-Miller Chapel in Brazil. Brother Greg Comp will be officiating with burial following at Clearview Cemetery.
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