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Meningitis: Warnings go out after Paoli girl dies

By Jeff Raymond and Julie Bisbee Modified: April 5, 2008 at 6:00 pm •  Published: April 5, 2008
PAOLI — A 12-year-old Garvin County girl died Friday from bacterial meningitis, the state Health Department confirmed.

Alyssa Nichole Campbell died Friday morning after being hospitalized a day before. The sixth-grader was fine earlier in the week and attended school. By midweek, however, she missed school, said Paoli schools Superintendent Rick Worden.

The Garvin County Health Department was contacted Thursday and was seeking to confirm the girl's diagnosis, Worden said. Andrew Dixon, who goes to school with the girl's older brother, said the onset of the illness was quick.

"One night she woke up shaking,” he said. "They took her to a hospital in Oklahoma City.”

Laurence Burnsed, director of the Health Department's Communicable Disease Division, said local authorities are working to identify anyone who was in close contact with the girl so they can get antibiotics.

Parents of sixth-graders and fifth-grade girls at the Paoli school were notified Thursday that one of the students at the school had contracted bacterial Ameningitis, Worden said. "The general public is not at risk,” Burnsed said. "Casual contact does not put a person at increased risk.”

Those at risk are family members and those who spent extended periods of time with the girl, Burnsed said.

"Many people — healthy people — can carry this bacteria in the nose and throat without any symptoms,” he said.

Symptoms include an intense headache, fever, vomiting and a stiff neck.

Worden said counselors will be available Monday. A seminar about meningitis will be held Tuesday at the school.

Editor's note: The story had the incorrect name for Alyssa Nichole Campbell. The story originally listed her as Nicole Campbell. We apologize for the error. Guest book: Alyssa Nichole Campbell

Paoli resident Alyssa Nichole "Niki" Campbell, 12, left, died Friday from bacterial meningitis. She was an aspiring singer who wanted to one day compete on "American Idol," her mother said - Photo provided


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