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Preschooler death prompts parent concerns

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17:04 CEST+02:00
A five-year-old died of epidemic meningitis in Örebro in eastern Sweden on Saturday morning and while no further cases have been confirmed, the death has prompted a spike in hospital admissions of children with similar symptoms.

Some 20-30 children have been taken to hospital in Örebro since the death of the five-year-old girl on Saturday, three times the usual rate.

"It is entirely normal. They are afraid," said Hans Fredlund at Örebro county health authorities to the TT news agency on Sunday.

It is thought that the girl may have been infected with epidemic meningitis while attending preschool and all of her classmates have been given a precautionary course of antibiotics.

"It is such a horrible condition that we didn't want to take any risks," Fredlund explained to the Expressen daily.

The girl is reported to have been in fine fettle on Saturday but fell into a sudden high fever and began throwing up. The sudden onset of the symptoms left the parents unable to get her to hospital in time to prevent death.

Epidemic meningitis, also known as cerebrospinal meningitis, is a bacterial infection characterized by inflammation of the meninges and symptoms include headache, fever and a stiff neck.

The disease is often fatal if left untreated.

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