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Officials say 2 meningitis deaths in Tuscarawas County unrelated

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NEW PHILADELPHIA — Health officials in a rural northeast Ohio county say they have no explanation for a second bacterial meningitis death less than two weeks after a 14-year-old boy was fatally infected.

The New Philadelphia Times Reporter reports Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner Katie Steward says the deaths are unrelated and calls the situation "unusual, bizarre and unexplainable."

The health department hasn't released the name or age of the second victim, who died Monday.

High school freshman Ryan Freeland, of Port Washington, died at a hospital Dec. 15 after getting sick the previous day. Indian Valley High School in Gnadenhutten closed Dec. 18 so it could be cleaned.

There were 134 cases of bacterial meningitis in Ohio last year, seven of which were fatal.

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