Deceased Columbus first-grader tested positive for flu, scarlet fever; official cause of death pending


Photo of Columbus Signature Academy – Lincoln Elementary School courtesy of Google Maps.

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COLUMBUS, Ind.– A Columbus first-grader who tested positive for scarlet fever and other illnesses passed away Thursday.

A representative from the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation said Columbus Signature Academy – Lincoln Elementary School received a call from the family letting them know the girl had died.

The girl was pronounced dead at Columbus Regional Hospital Thursday morning. The Bartholomew County coroner identified her as 7-year-old Savanna Jessie.

The official said there were “many tears” to start the day Friday. The school has about 400 students.

An autopsy was conducted Friday. The coroner said Jessie tested positive for influenza B, strep throat and scarlet fever. An official cause of death has not been released, pending further tests which could take up to three weeks.

Scarlet fever is a disease that can occur as a result of a strep throat infection. It is most common in children between the ages of 5-15. Its symptoms include sore throat, fever, headaches, swollen lymph nodes and a red, bumpy rash that feels like sandpaper. There is no vaccine for scarlet fever.

In a statement, Superintendent Jim Roberts said, “BCSC has notified Dr. Roy Goode, the school corporation’s physician, the Bartholomew County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health. Although there is no reporting requirement about illness rates until the absence rate reaches 20 percent, Roberts said BCSC’s rate is hovering around 5 percent and it is imperative that the school corporation share information about the spread of germs.”

Roberts encouraged staff members and students to get a flu shot.

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