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Tragedy strikes Minnesota family during summer vacation overseas

One teen died and the family is raising money to bring his severely ill younger brother home.
Zakariya Hassan.

Zakariya Hassan.

A young Minnesota boy who traveled to Africa for a family vacation is now on the verge of death after contracting a severe illness.

Zakariya Hassan, 11, of Minneapolis, is in fifth grade at Northrop Elementary, according to a GoFundMe page. During the summer holiday, he and his family took a trip to East Africa. While there, tragedy struck.

His older brother Mohamed and older sister Deeqa both became ill. On June 30, 16-year-old Mohamed died in Nairobi, Kenya, while battling a severe case of meningitis.

Zakariya is now heading down that path, with the GoFundMe noting the boy is "fighting for his life with the same grim prognosis" as Mohamed.

"Zakariya is not getting proper medical treatment in Nairobi, Kenya, the page says.

The fundraiser's organizers are hoping to raise $250,000 to get Zakariya an urgent medical evaluation and to fly him back to Children's Hospital in his home of Minneapolis so he can "receive proper medical treatment and increase his survival rate."

"The most painful thing for any parent is to bury your own child," the GoFundMe adds.

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Meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid and membranes that surround a person's brain and spinal cord, according to Mayo Clinic. It's usually caused by a virus, but can also occur as a result of an infection caused by bacteria, parasites or fungus.

Sometimes meningitis goes away without treatment in a few weeks, while in other cases it can be life-threatening, requiring emergency antibiotic treatment.

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