Mystery Illness Claims the Life of 2 Area Teens, a Third is Critical

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Two teenagers from Montgomery and Liberty counties have died, and a third is in critical condition. Health experts said all three shared similar symptoms. Now they are working together to figure out what is behind it all.

Tyler Lane Budro, 17, was the first case. He got sick in February and died on March 10.

Tyler lived in Liberty County and was a junior at Hull-Daisetta High School. His mother said he first had a fever, and then violent seizures started days later.

An infectious disease specialist in Montgomery County said Tyler, as well as a teenage girl and a teenage boy in that county had similar symptoms. The girl died on April 29. The boy is in critical condition at a Houston hospital.

The specialist also said the teens' symptoms included a fever, coughing, pneumonia, seizures and respiratory failure.

Dr. Syed Ibrahim is Montgomery County's epidemiologist. He said they ran 30 tests on the teens, including checks for rabies and meningitis. All tests came back with negative results, so health experts still have no idea what any of the teens came down with.

Dr. Ibrahim and other area health experts are still looking for answers.

"I'm really concerned. I'm sad as well because these are the cases of the teenagers in our county," said Dr. Ibrahim, MD, MPH.

Parents and students at New Caney High School, where the teen who is in the hospital attends, are worried too.

"I think they should have informed us about it more 'cuz it's not right that some kids don't know about it and other kids are spreading (rumors) making it worse," said student Courtney Villareal.

School officials in New Caney ISD said they did not notify parents because they don't have enough information. They said they don't know what they're dealing with at this point.

Dr. Ibrahim said the disease or diseases do not appear to be contagious."

Some in New Caney ISD said they are afraid people might panic. Health experts stress there is no need for that. They're just stumped.

Tyler's grieving mom is hoping experts can crack the case very soon.

"I need a reason," said Janie Budro, "but right now I don't have a reason for him not to be here."