Mystery illness claims the life of 2 area teens, a third is critical


by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 4:41 PM

HOUSTON -- A hospital spokeswoman at Texas Children's in Houston said in a written statement that a 17-year-old boy in their facility is not believed, by them, to be connected two cases in which area teens died from a mystery illness.

But the lead doctor in charge of Montgomery County's Health Department said all of the teens have similar symptoms.

"Like fever, cough, like respiratory failure, pneumonia, seizures," said Dr. Syed Ibrahim, MD, MPH. "In the child who's admitted at Texas Children's Hospital now, he's having liver enlargment and spleen enlargment."

The hospital confirmed that the teen is in critical condition.

Two teenagers, one from Montgomery County and one from Liberty County, have died from an illness health experts have not been able to diagnose.

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.

The teenage girl who passed away died on April 29.

Dr. Ibrahim is Montgomery County's top epidemiologist. He said doctors 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.

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."