PORTLAND, OREGON (AP) – Zachary Connor, 14, died last night from the effects of a massive tetanus infection he acquired after receiving a “vampire bite” from a high school classmate, officials at Providence Medical Center reported Tuesday.
Connor, who was a first-year student at Central Catholic High School, received a bite on the neck from a classmate sometime last week. The student that bit Connor is also being treated at Providence Medial Center after doctors determined that she was a carrier of the tetanus virus. Police have decided not to file charges and have not released her name.
School officials claim these attacks are common but that there is little school officials can do to prevent them. “Vampires are popular in youth culture,” Central Catholic Assistant Principal Mary O’Brien said. “Over the past year, we’ve seen numerous incidents of kids biting each other in the neck. It’s usually done among friends to show a form of ownership. One student we disciplined last year claimed that the bite doesn’t ‘count’ unless it draws blood.”
A classmate of Connor’s who asked not to be identified, added, “We all feel terrible about Zach. Everyone bites. It’s a way to show you love your friends. We thought the worst thing that could happen is that someone would turn into a vampire.”
Dr. Gordon Baker, a microbiology researcher at Oregon Health Sciences University, explained that human bites can have serious medical consequences. “The human mouth is full of bacteria, and introducing the pathogens to a person’s bloodstream through a bite puncture is an easy way to cause infection. The Connor case is not the first report of a person dying from a human bite in the medical literature.”
Connor is survived by his parents, grandparents, and two sisters. Funeral services are still pending.