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N. Dakota Plans Mass Immunization

February 16, 1999

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) _ State officials plan to vaccinate nearly 5,000 people around this town in the northwestern part of the state after a 2-year-old boy died of a meningitis-related bacteria.

Dr. Stephen McDonough, the medical officer for the state health department, said Tuesday that people in Williston ages 18 months to 21 years should be immunized. About 13,000 people live in Williston.

The boy who died last week was confirmed to have a bacteria known as Type C meningococcus, McDonough said. It is among the bacteria types that causes meningitis.

A second case involving a Williston preschooler was confirmed late Monday. That child and a third child suspected of having the bacteria are responding well to treatment, McDonough said.

``This is the first time in the 15 years I’ve worked for the Health Department that we’ve had such a cluster,″ McDonough said.

Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

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