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Archive for Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meningitis kills 3 in Sedgwick County

February 28, 2009

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— Three people in Sedgwick County have died of bacterial meningitis since January, but only one of the victims suffered from a more contagious variety of the illness, health officials said Friday.

A Sedgwick County resident died in January, and two others died in February, according to Jennifer McCausland, spokeswoman for the Sedgwick County Health Department.

The person who died in January had a more contagious strain of bacterial meningitis, called neisseria meningitidis, said Janice McCoy, public health emergency coordinator for the health department.

The other two people, a man and a woman, died from a type of bacterial meningitis called streptococcus pneumoniae, which is not easily transferred from one individual to another, McCoy said.

The woman who died Feb. 20 also suffered from multiple sclerosis and likely had a weakened immune system, McCausland said.

She said it was unclear what may have triggered the meningitis in the man, who was found dead in his home Feb. 14.

The deaths did not indicate a threat to the public from the illness, McCausland said. The department did not identify the victims.

“The main thing we want to be clear about is we don’t have an outbreak,” McCausland said.

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