A 17-year-old Georgia high school student died unexpectedly of meningococcal disease, a rare bacterial infection characterized by a sudden onset of fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck and a rash, FOX 24 WGXA reported.
Brittany Rae Jones on Sunday died of the disease, which is spread through saliva and can be passed by sharing a drink or kissing.
Meningococcal disease is also called bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is much less common and much deadlier than viral meningitis, which is can be common on college campuses and in places where people live in close proximity.
The disease once was fatal in 50 percent of cases, but when caught early and treated with antibiotics and other therapies, the fatality rate is just 10 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.