Oct 222010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

The Larimer County Coroner’s Office determined this morning that the cause of death for CSU student Christina Adame, 23, was waterhouse-friderichsen syndrome, not meningitis.

Waterhouse-friderichsen syndrome, which took Adame’s life early Wednesday morning, is caused by neisseria meningitidis that shuts down the adrenal glands and keeps them from fighting bacteria or viruses. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and help regulate the body’s endocrine system.

The bacteria, according to Larimer County Deputy coroner Louis Greek, can also cause meningitis, but health officials knew early on that Adame had not fallen victim to that. Her body was unable to fight off a case of sepsis, or blood poisoning.

“She didn’t die directly as a result of sepsis. In her case the actual reason she died was because her adrenal glands could not fight off the sepsis,” Greek said.

The bacteria is found in about 10-to-15 percent of the population, said Greek, from the Larimer County Coroner’s Office.

“One of the ways (the bacteria can affect you) is waterhouse-friderichsen disease and the other way is meningitis, but we knew it wasn’t meningitis from the beginning,” Greek said.

Medical Records show that Adame received her meningococcal immunization in 2006, according to a release from the Larimer County Coroner’s Office.

CSU freshman Zachary Ratzlaff, 19, remains at the Poudre Valley Hospital and tests found that his illness is likely viral and not linked to Adame.

News Editor Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com

 Posted by at 4:36 am

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