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TEENAGER KILLED BY BRAIN BUG; Meningitis strikes North Wales girl.

Byline: CARL BUTLER

A NORTH Wales student died yesterday from suspected meningitis.

Nineteen-year-old Lisa Woolford, from Ruthin, was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary on Saturday.

It is believed members of her family were at her bedside when she died.

The former Ysgol Brynhyfryd pupil was studying at Loughborough University.

Ysgol Brynhyfryd headmistress Eleri Jones said last night: ``She was an excellent pupil, a model student and a lovely girl who was very popular with the teachers and fellow pupils.

``She left our school in July 2001 to go to Loughborough to study media and communications. She was involved in many extracurricular activities including singing in the school choir.''

Lisa's sister Rachel is a Year 11 student in Brynhyfryd and her brother Dylan has left school.

Several members of the Woolford family are known for their singing talent. Lisa's mother Eleri and her uncles Ian and Geraint followed their parents Bernard and En a as accomplished performers.

Her mother works for Denbighshire County Council, and authority chairman Tom Parry said last night: ``We were devastated to hear the news of Lisa's death and on behalf of my fellow councillors and staff,I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family. Lisa was a lovely young woman with a promising future and this is a tragic loss of a young life.

``Since my election as chairman,I have worked closely with Lisa's mother,Eleri, who is a civic assistant officer with Denbighshire,and I feel the family's loss personally.''

A Loughborough University spokeswoman said: ``A student at the university was admitted to the Leicester Royal Infirmary on Saturday with suspected meningococcal septicaemia.

``Students have been informed and all necessary action taken following public health advice and national guidelines.''

Lisa was treated at the hospital's intensive care unit and was placed on a life support machine.

Meningitis is yet to be confirmed. The Meningitis Trust has urged all students to be aware of the signs of symptoms of the disease following outbreaks at five university campuses and not to wait for a rash if meningitis is suspected.

The warning follows 10 confirmed cases,and one suspected case,at universities in Aberystwyth,Bristol,Dundee, Hertfordshire and Portsmouth in recent weeks.

Bridie Taylor, the trust's community services manager, said student awareness of the disease had fallen since the introduction of the Meningitis C vaccine.

``There is still no vaccine for the most prevalent strain of meningitis,meningococcal B, so the disease should still be a concern,'' she said.

``These recent university cases go to show that meningitis can strike anybody,at any time.''

The key early signs of meningitis are headache, stiff neck and dislike of bright lights. Other symptoms such as vomiting, drowsiness, joint pain and fever may also be present. It is important to note that these may not all appear at once.

The rash, which starts as red or purple spots anywhere on the body is a symptom of septicaemia or blood poisoning. Septicaemia is often closely associated with meningitis, both of which are caused by the meningococcal bacteria.

If you want to know more about meningitis call the Meningitis Trust's 24-hour helplineon 0845 6000 800.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 25, 2003
Words:525
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