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?No kissing? warning after meningitis death

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17:28 CEST+02:00
Doctors are warning youngsters in the central Swedish town of Västerås not to kiss each other on the mouths after a 17-year old girl died yesterday of suspected epidemic meningitis.

The girl was the third person in Västerås, 120 kilometres west of Stockholm, to fall ill recently with meningitis. She died just hours after being admitted to hospital in the town, local media reported.

Doctors suspect that the girl died of meningococcal infection or epidemic meningitis. A teenage boy and girl fell ill with the bacterial infection at the end of January. Both are now fully recovered.

“It is possible that this is a similar bacteria or even the same bacterial strain as those who were ill previously. The bacterial strain could have continued to be present in young people in the town,” said Dr. Jan Smedjegård, an infectious disease specialist, to TT.

Young children and teenagers run the highest risk of being infected.

The meningococcal bacterium is a bacterium of the respiratory passages that can exist in the throats of up to ten percent of the population. Mass tests are therefore not planned. If one person is infected the risk of further infections in the immediate surroundings is increased for the following two weeks. Doctors are therefore recommending that young people refrain from kissing on the mouth, or sharing cigarettes or bottles.

“It is important to be aware of the symptoms,” says Smedjegård. The early symptoms are often fever, a sore throat, coughing, headaches and vomiting. The next stage can bring bleeding under the skin appearing as a rash, plus a stiff neck and low blood pressure.

TT/The Local

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