Health officials investigate death of LAUSD teacher who contracted meningitis

Los Angeles, Calif. (KTLA) - Public health officials are investigating the death of an elementary school teacher in South Gate who had contracted meningitis.

Parents and students who gathered at the school for a meeting Monday morning identified the teacher as Ramona Gedney.

Gedney died in a Downey hospital on Feb. 6, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office told the Los Angeles Times.

The Coroner's Office did not announce a cause of death, but Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirmed in a news release last week they were investigating the "meningococcal bacteria associated death" of a Los Angeles Unified School District staff person.

The School District was informed of the cause of death Friday, L.A. Unified spokeswoman Barbara Jones told the Times.

"We realize that our teacher's death from a meningococcal bacteria-related illness may be causing concern. However, we want to assure our students, families and employees that their health and safety remain the District's top priority," Jones told the Times.

Officials used preventative antibiotics to treat those who had close contact with the patient and were working to ensure the school was safe, the Department of Public Health stated in a news release.

Monday's meeting was expected to begin about 9:30 a.m. and provide further information to parents.

"I'm just worried that the school is contaminated. I want to make sure that everything is safe before I bring my kid here," parent Juan Garcia said.

Gedney described herself in an online biography as a third-grade teacher who taught for the School District for 16 years. She grew up in Huntington Park, attended U.C. Berkeley and had a master's degree in education, according to the biography.

It was unclear how Gedney contracted the bacteria.

Meningitis is transmitted through direct contact with saliva, but can also be spread by coughing or sneezing.

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