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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Schoolgirl dies from meningitis
Doctors with needle, generic
The death is the latest meningitis case in south Wales
A 16-year-old schoolgirl from south Wales has died suddenly in hospital after contracting meningitis.

Amy Warburton had attended the same Pontypridd school where a home economics teacher died from the brain disease three years ago.

Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School was re-vaccinated last year after faults with an initial screening programme.

Meningitis facts
Inflammation of brain lining
2,500 to 3,000 annual UK cases
Three main strains: A, B, C
Treated with anti-biotics
Bacteria spread by germs
But local health authority officials say the latest incident is an isolated case.

Miss Warburton, from Llanharan, died overnight at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

Her closest family contacts have been vaccinated against the disease.

But it is not yet clear which strain of the disease she had contracted.

Bro Taf Health Authority said it had given appropriate advice to school officials.

'Isolated case'

Communcable disease consultant Dr Marion Lyons said: "Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.

"We would stress, however, that this is an isolated case and sporadic cases of meningococcal disease are normal."

Antiobiotics for meningitis
Antiobiotics can fight meningococcal meningitis
The girl's headteacher, Peter Nash, said: "She was held in high esteem and affection by both pupils and staff.

"The school has come together today to pray and come to terms with our loss.

"The school is working closely with Bro Taf Health Authority, and staff and pupils are being fully supported by the appropriate authorities.

"It must be stressed that the best place for children is to be at school, where care and support is available to them at this very difficult time."

Second vaccination

In December 2001, the authority ordered a booster dose of meningitis C vaccine to all pupils in the Rhondda Taff Ely district in south-east Wales.

It was thought the initial vaccine used on thousands of children in the area had become ineffective due to storage at low temperatures after two pupils subsequently contracted the disease.

The Cardinal Newman school was amongst those re-vaccinated, but the authority has not confirmed whether the 16-year-old was re-vaccinated herself.

Teacher Lynne James, 55, died from meningitis septicaemia in 1999, four hours after going to hospital with the illness.

There have been several other cases of meningitis at schools across the Bro Taf area in recent years.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain lining and is mostly caused by bacteria and viruses.

See also:

03 Jan 01 | Health
Q&A: Meningitis vaccine success
31 Jan 00 | Health
The meningitis files
09 Mar 99 | Medical notes
10 Apr 02 | Health
Vaccine optimism for meningitis B
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