Health department: Same bacteria killed CSU student, hockey players
FORT COLLINS - The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment
on Wednesday reported that the bacteria that caused a fatal infection in
a Colorado State University student last week matched the organisms
that infected three hockey players in June.
Adrienne LeBailly M.D., health department director, said at a press
conference that the state health department laboratory confirmed the
bacteria that killed 23-year-old Christina Adame on Oct. 20 - Group C
meningococcal bacteria - is the same that killed three Fort Collins
Adult Hockey League players.
"The results of this testing showed that the bacteria from last week's
fatal case matches the cases in June," LeBailly said.
But drawing a direct connection between the earlier deaths and last
week's death was not possible, LeBailly said.
"We have looked at a number of possible connections between the June
hockey league outbreak and the current death," she said. "We know that
for each case of meningococcal infection there are likely dozens of
asymptomatic carriers of an outbreak strain who never become ill but can
transmit the bacteria to others, most of whom will never become ill.
This makes direct connections between cases impossible to identify."
Hockey player Brian Wormus, 29, died June 14 and Nick Smith, 28, died
June 22. A third hockey player, Bill Jubert, 52, died Oct. 11.
LeBailly said Adame's meningitis vaccination in 2006 likely wore off
over time. "The effectiveness of the vaccine against meningococcal
bacteria is high in the first year after vaccination," she said.
"Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the vaccine also decreases as time
passes, and it appears that after five years antibodies decline to
LeBailly said the health department will be consulting with disease
control experts to review what steps might be taken to prevent further
cases and will assess options that may be most helpful in preventing
"While the risk of severe disease remains quite low for any individual,
we do understand the concern of the community," she said.
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