No new cases of meningococcemia were reported to Orange County health officials on Wednesday, and one 18-year-old man who had contracted the rare disease improved so much that he was discharged from the hospital.
A seventh-grade girl from Costa Mesa High School was showing signs of improvement, although she remained in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
The girl’s breathing has strengthened, and she is being weaned slowly from a respirator, a hospital spokeswoman said.
News last week that two Costa Mesa High girls had contracted the disease sent ripples of concern through the school community. One of the girls, Kori Emer, 12, died of the disease last Thursday.
In all, six Orange County cases of the bacterial disease, which targets the blood and spinal systems, have been reported.
New laboratory test results announced Wednesday show that two Costa Mesa high school students’ disease was caused by the same meningococcus subclassification, serogroup C, but health officials emphasize that does not mean it was the same strain.
Nor does it mean that the girls contracted it from the same source or from each other.
“They’re too close in time to have caught it from each other,” said Dr. Hildy Meyers, county epidemiologist.
More testing will be conducted by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District has given parents an information flier that recommends that close contacts of the two girls receive a medication called rifampin.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Bryan Owen of Fullerton was discharged about 5 p.m. Wednesday from Chapman Medical Center in Orange.
And another patient with the disease, Aaron Coleman, 20, of Orange, was expected to be discharged today from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.