Concertgoers Warned: Link Found In Meningitis Cases

Investigation into two suspect bacterial meningitis cases has found a possible link between attendance at a punk rock concert on September 20at WOW Hall in Eugene, Oregon, according to The Associated Press.

Christina Norton, a sophomore at South Eugene International High School, became ill Sunday and is in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Last Thursday Mani Shimada, 16, a junior at Wellsprings Friends School, died, said Betsy Meredith, a Lane County Public Health Department spokeswoman.

Both attended the "Bloodstains Across Eugene II" concert at Eugene's WOW hall. The show featured performances by local acts BLASPHEMOUS ABNORMALITY, POCKETFACE, CAPGUN SUICIDE, THE BASTARD SAINTS, MONKEE TORTURE, BIB BUBBA and THE DEFACTORS.

Lane County Public Health is recommending that those who attended this event, especially those who were in the "mosh pit", contact their doctor to discuss their risk level for disease and possible preventative treatment.

The health officials say they don't know if Shimada and Norton had any contact during the show, or even if they were there at the same time.

They said it is possible that one exposed the other or that both were exposed by a third party.

The county agency said people who attended and develop symptoms within the next two weeks should seek medical care immediately and that an elevated risk can linger for up to 60 days.

Health officials say the diagnosis has not been confirmed in either case but that meningitis is strongly suspected in both.

Shimada's death would be the first fatal case of meningitis in Lane County since February 2001, when University of Oregon freshman Jill Dieringer died of the disease.

Norton did not know Shimada, Meredith said.

Bacterial meningitis afflicts about 3,000 people a year in the United States and kills about 300, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms can include high fever, rash, headache, vomiting, irritability and lethargy.

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