Investigators said they do not believe there is a serious health risk after a 5-year-old Greenville County boy died hours after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
Greenville County Deputy Coroner Barry Wright said Jeremiah Simmons, a Blythe Elementary Academy 4K student, was sent home from school Tuesday after he reported feeling ill and the nurse discovered he had a 101.3-degree fever.
Simmons was not ill Monday and after he was sent home, his mother said he was lethargic, had no appetite and wanted to sleep, Wright said. He said she gave Simmons over-the-counter fever medication and checked on him periodically, until she found him unresponsive about 7 p.m.
Wright said when paramedics responded, Simmons was in cardiac arrest and ultimately died at Greenville Memorial Hospital about 15 minutes later.
During a news conference Thursday, Wright said tests ruled out meningitis and myocarditis, which are infections of the brain and heart respectively. He said more tests will be conducted by the state Health Department to determine what may have killed Simmons.
Wright said Simmons had previous health conditions, including enlarged tonsils and an edema in the back of his throat, which cause his airway to close. He said the boy also had a history of seizures associated with high fevers.
Simmons' mother did everything she could to care for the child, Wright said.
Wright said Simmons' death does not appear to be an allergic reaction to medication because he exhibited symptoms before taking the medication.
Wright urged the public and anyone who goes to Blythe or Simmons' church, where he sang in the choir, to see a doctor immediately if they show any symptoms, no matter how minor.
Greenville County School officials said the symptoms were running nose, coughs, headaches or fever.
Wright said the school is safe because officials followed proper decontamination procedures.
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