Sunday, June 03, 2001

Third meningitis case confirmed

Hundreds in NE Ohio line up for antibiotics

The Associated Press

        ALLIANCE, Ohio — Local and state health officials confirmed a third case of meningitis Saturday, prompting hundreds of residents to line up outside two hospitals to get preventive antibiotics.

        Two Beloit West Branch High School students have died in the past week after being diagnosed with neisseria meninigitidis, which can be spread by drinking out of the same container or sharing a utensil.

        On Saturday, health officials diagnosed an 18-year-old Marlington High School student with neisseria meninigitidis, said Dr. Mark Hostettler, medical director of Alliance Community Hospital.

        She was flown to Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron. A nursing supervisor identified her as Christin Van Camp and said she was in serious condition Saturday night.

        Health officials recommended staff, students and parents in the Marlington, West Branch and Alliance city school districts obtain preventive antibiotics from Alliance Community Hospitals and Immediate Medical Services Center. Salem Community Hospital also set up a satellite clinic at Southeast Elementary School in Salem.

        The two facilities planned to stay open round-the-clock Saturday to accommodate the long lines of people who were waiting for the free antibiotics.

        “The lines are out through the parking lot,” said Dan Buckel, spokesman for Marlington schools.

        Marlington postponed its graduation ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, Mr. Buckel said. He did not know when graduation would be rescheduled. School officials were to meet today to discuss whether the last three days of the school year would resume Monday.

        Health and school officials did not know Saturday whether Ms. Van Camp had any contact with the other two victims. Marlington and West Branch high schools are about 15 miles apart.

        The first student, Jonathan Stauffer, 15, a freshman at West Branch High School, died May 23 at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron of meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord.

        On Monday, Kelly Coblentz, 16, a sophomore at the school, died at Tod Children's Hospital in Youngstown of meningococcemia, an infection that spreads throughout the body, including the brain, and is more dangerous than meningitis, according to Dr. Robert Felter, medical director at Tod.


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