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Meningitis scare: Victims were at same nightspot

AN APPEAL has been launched to track down all young people who celebrated the New Year at the Snoops in Dover. This follows an investigation by East Kent Health Authority's public health officials who have discovered meningitis victims and Jolene Swift and Ryan Cross attended a party on December 31 at the Castle Street night club.

Both students died from the disease. Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, clinical director of communicable disease control for Kent, said a special clinic is being set up at Snoops on Friday at 1pm.

He added: "I would like anyone who attended that party and who has not been vaccinated against meningitis to come to the club at that time so that we can offer them inoculations. Any young people who attended Snoops at other times are also welcome to attend."

Dr Chandrakumar also emphasised that the bacteria is only transmitted from person to person and does not live outside the body. "The night club is therefore not the source of the infection and is perfectly safe for people to continue attending. "I am also satisfied with the standards at the night club and a recent health and safety inspection was completed which was satisfactory."

For questions about meningitis contact either the Meningitis Research Foundation helpline on 080 8800 33 44 or the Meningitis Trust helpline on 0845 6000 800. Both operate 24 hours a day.

The parents of both teenagers who died are also urging all young people to be vaccinated. Brian and Lesley Cross, whose 18-year-old son was buried on Tuesday, are also appealing to parents to check their children have received the jab.

"They have to learn about meningitis and those over 18 have to be responsible and go to their doctors to order a vaccination," said Mr Cross.

The couple's youngest son was a student at South Kent College at Ashford and worked as a car paint sprayer at Greaves in Poulton Close, Dover.

The family of Deal Regatta princess Jolene, who died suddenly on Saturday, have spoken of their love for their "happy and smiling" daughter and sister. Jolene's mother, Donna, said: "I feel I have died with her."

The teenager, due to celebrate her 20th birthday in April, was rushed to hospital on Friday and lost her fight for life the following day.

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