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Girl Out of Hospital After Bout of Suspected Meningitis

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An 8-year-old girl hospitalized for a rare but deadly form of meningitis--blamed for the recent deaths of two Orange County girls--has been released, with doctors still unsure whether she had the disease.

“She was basically well when she left,” said Lori Brandt, a spokeswoman for Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, adding that the Sun Valley girl, released Monday, left without a fever and a rash--two trademark symptoms of meningococcemia.

On Saturday, a 20-month-old Van Nuys boy hospitalized with the Sun Valley girl last week was released from the hospital after cultures came back negative.

Meningococcemia is spread through saliva, according to health officials. Its symptoms include severe fever and a bruise-like rash that can cover the entire body.

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Authorities say the disease can kill in as few as 24 hours after symptoms appear.

Brandt said the parents of the Sun Valley girl released Monday were urged by hospital officials to keep a close watch on recurring symptoms and to return her to the hospital if her condition worsened.

So far this year, 14 cases of meningococcemia have been confirmed in Los Angeles County--none of them lethal, according to health officials, who say the incidents do not represent an epidemic.


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