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Schoolgirl, 13, goes home after disease fear disproved; TEST RESULTS: Two teenagers remain in hospital after town gripped by virus scare.

A 13-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl who was taken to hospital with suspected meningitis was released yesterday after medics revealed she did not have the virus.

Caryl Haf Jones, 13, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, was discharged from Ysbyty Gwynedd, in Bangor, after she was taken to the hospital on Thursday suffering from a headache and vomiting.

Two other teenagers who attend Ysgol Y Moelwyn, in Blaenau Ffestiniog, remained in hospital after the town was gripped by a meningitis scare. But only one - 15-year-old Bethan Angharad Jones - has a confirmed case of meningitis.

She is now said to be making a good recovery after lapsing into a coma last Friday.

Bethan's 15-year-old classmate Carina Williams was also admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd this week with flulike symptoms. Doctors are still awaiting test results, but she is described as "comfortable" and is not thought to be in any danger.

Information on meningitis SCIENTISTS do not yet fully understand why a few people develop meningitis or septicaemia from bacteria which are harmless to most of us, but statistics show that children under the age of five and young adults have a higher risk of developing the diseases.

Both can be treated if help is sought immediately, but, because they develop extremely quickly it is important to know the symptoms.

They include: high temperature, vomiting, severe headache, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness and joint or muscle pains.

With septicaemia the bacteria releases toxins into the blood and this leaking causes a rash which develops into purple bruises on the body. This is the more serious form of the disease.

In babies and infants the symptoms include (though not necessarily at the same time) high temperature and fever, cold hands and feet, high pitched moaning, blank, staring expression, pale, blotchy complexion, neck retraction with arching of back, floppiness, difficult to wake or lethargic and a bulging fontanelle (soft spot on babies' heads).

For information call Meningitis Cymru on freephone 0800 652 9996 or the Meningits Trust, on 0845 6000 800.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2002
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