FORT LEONARD WOOD — A second soldier stationed at Fort Leonard Wood Army base in Missouri has died of meningitis, officials said Tuesday.
Fort Leonard Wood officials identified the soldier as Pvt. Randy Stabnick, 28, of South Bend, Ind. He died Tuesday at St. John's Hospital in Springfield. He was in initial entry training.
The first soldier died Feb. 9. His name has not been released.
"The soldiers and their families continue to be in our prayers today," Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said in a news release.
A memorial for Stabnick is scheduled for Wednesday.
Officials at the mid-Missouri base say both soldiers contracted a noncontagious form of meningitis. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent four investigators. CDC spokesman Dave Daigle said the group will include two epidemic intelligence service agents, one epidemiologist and one medical student.
A news conference was planned for Tuesday afternoon at the base.
Fort Leonard Wood authorities say that even though the illnesses were noncontagious forms, they are "heightening awareness" of preventive measures. Soldiers are being reminded to wash their hands, avoid sharing utensils and to use proper cough etiquette and personal hygiene.
Meningitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The viral form is generally less severe. Bacterial meningitis can result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability and death. Symptoms include high fever, headache and a stiff neck, and can also include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tracks meningitis cases in the state. But a spokesman said the department is not involved in the Fort Leonard Wood investigation, deferring to the federal government to look into the matter.
State health department spokesman Kit Wagar said that beyond the Fort Leonard Wood cases, three meningitis cases have been reported in Missouri this year, most recently a 15-year-old Camdenton girl diagnosed over the weekend. She was hospitalized in Columbia. Her name and condition were not released.
Wagar said Missouri had 26 cases last year, including three deaths.
Meningitis is especially concerning in situations with a lot of people in close proximity, like a college dorm or an Army base. Three students at the University of Pennsylvania were improving after contracting the disease this month. More than 2,100 students received precautionary antibiotics. Meanwhile, Ohio University reported one confirmed case of bacterial meningitis and a second probable case.