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Guards, Prisoners Tested After Jail Meningitis Death

August 16, 1987

NYACK, N.Y. (AP) _ Guards and prisoners at the Rockland County jail are being tested for meningitis after an inmate died of a highly contagious form of the disease, the sheriff says.

The prisoner, Hubert Dyke, 23, of Spring Valley, suffered a seizure early Friday and died Saturday at Nyack Hospital, and an autopsy revealed the cause of death as meningococcal meningitis, said Sheriff Thomas Goldrick.

Tests were conducted on about 27 inmates and an undetermined number of correction officers and sheriff’s deputies who might have come into ″prolonged contact″ with Dyke.

As a precaution, they also were receiving the drug Rifampinan.

However, no one else reported having the flu-like symptoms of the disease which affects the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, said Goldrick.

Rockland County Health Commissioner Israel Praiss said it could take two to 10 days before it is known if anyone else at the jail is infected.

Goldrick said there was little danger of the disease spreading to the public because Dyke had been imprisoned since Aug. 6 and was most contagious on Thursday and Friday.

Praiss said the strain of meningitis cannot be transmitted by casual contact but only if, for example, someone shared a drinking glass with Dyke.

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