Health officials confirmed Thursday that a 4-year-old Pasco County boy who died suddenly earlier this week was the victim of bacterial meningitis.
Biological tests confirmed that the young boy, Amonti Saunders, had the infection, said Deanna Krautner, spokeswoman for the Pasco County Health Department.
It is the fifth case of the illness to occur in Pasco County in as many years and the second that has resulted in death, officials said.
All those who were in contact with the child have received antibiotic treatment to prevent further spread of the bacteria, Krautner said. It's still not known how or where the boy contracted the illness.
Amonti began to show signs of the infection Saturday night at his home in Holiday.
His mother, Rachael Edwards, said it began with a headache, a fever and pain in the boy's legs. Early Sunday morning, he broke into a sweat. By 7 a.m., purple splotches covered his face and arms, his mother said.
He was rushed to the hospital, where the symptoms continued getting worse, his tongue swelling and his heartbeat slowing, before he died at 10 a.m.
Doctors had said they suspected bacterial meningitis, but the cause of death had not been confirmed until Thursday.