The death of Washington Nationals prospect Yewri Guillen from bacterial meningitis prompted the team to take precautions to protect other players at its Dominican training academy.
Guillen died Thursday, after first showing symptoms of the disease Monday, according to Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the Nationals’ medical director. He said the team is still trying to determine how the 18-year-old shortstop contracted the disease.
“There are bacterial particles that float around, and sometimes somebody is susceptible and you don’t know,” Douoguih said on the team’s website. “When they contract, it’s very rapid. We all carry bacteria in noses and mouths. It’s possible he got it from somebody who sneezed. He was susceptible, and it was an unfortunate thing.”
Douoguih said other players at the academy are not at risk and that the Nationals are assessing what they can do to prevent such a tragedy in the future.
“Everyone that came in contact with him received standard prophylaxis to prevent this from spreading and becoming more of a problem,” he said.
Local team representative Moises de la Mota did not return calls for comment.
Douoguih said Guillen received treatment for the condition after the academy’s medical and training staff identified it as bacterial meningitis.
“Unfortunately, even with the best treatment, the mortality rate is about 20 to 30 percent. So it’s a very terrible thing,” Douoguih said. “… As unfortunate as it is, I know everything was done to the letter by our medical and training staff to prevent any further catastrophe.”
Guillen’s wake was Friday, and his funeral was taking place Saturday in the Dominican Republic. The Lerner family, owners of the Nationals, was paying for the funeral and Nationals players donated money to help Guillen’s family.
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