Boyertown area reacts to 10-year-old's meningitis death

NEW HANOVER — A fourth-grader at New Hanover-Upper Frederick Elementary School has died of bacterial meningitis.

Colden M. Malinowski, 10, of Gilbertsville, died Wednesday at Lehigh Valley Medical Center near Allentown.

“Our thoughts and support are with the family as they work through this difficult time,” Robert L. Scoboria, acting superintendent of the Boyertown Area School District, wrote in an April 25 letter sent to homes in the school’s attendance area.

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Scoboria was quick to point out that the form of meningitis that caused the 10-year-old’s death is “not the type of bacterial meningitis that requires close contacts to obtain preventative medicine.”

As a result, he wrote, “no further public health action will be required for persons who may have been in contract” with Colden.

The letter identified the strain Colden contracted as being streptococcus pneumoniae and said that information was confirmed by the Montgomery County Department of Health, which had no further comment on the matter.

“Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu,” Scoboria wrote in his letter.

“Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been,” he wrote.

The district did have additional counseling support available in the days following Colden’s death “to assist students who may be upset due to this information.”

Colden was a member of New Hanover United Methodist Church and, in addition to his parents, David M. and Patricia L. (Finney) Malinowski, he is survived by one brother, Christopher L. and one sister, Brittany T., according to his obituary published in Sunday’s edition of The Mercury.

The family has asked that contributions in Colden’s memory be made to www.NMAUS.org, the website for the National Meningitis Association.