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Legionnaires' Disease Unlikely in Marine Wife's Sudden Death

September 06, 1986|ERIC BAILEY | Times Staff Writer

A 26-year-old woman feared to be a victim of legionnaires' disease is now believed to have died of a different illness, authorities said Friday.

Heidi Rozelle died Monday at the Navy Hospital at Camp Pendleton because of respiratory problems brought on by kidney failure, a hospital spokesman said.

An autopsy performed on Rozelle, the wife of a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, indicated that legionnaires' disease probably played no part in her death, according to Ensign Rick Crabb, a hospital spokesman.

"In this specific case, it's just not a very likely thing," Crabb said. "We have no suspicion that it is legionnaires' disease."

Further tests are being run at the Navy Hospital in Balboa Park on tissue samples taken from Rozelle to determine whether legionnaires was present, but Crabb stressed that all indications are that some other problem caused Rozelle's kidneys to fail.

No results are expected from the tests for 7 to 10 days.

He said doctors are encouraged because Rozelle's symptoms did not follow the pattern typical of legionnaires. The disease normally goes directly to the lungs, but Rozelle first suffered problems with her kidneys.

Rozelle became ill Aug. 21 and went to the hospital the next day suffering from symptoms similar to pneumonia. Her death caused concern among city officials in Carlsbad because Rozelle had worked as a temporary employee for about two weeks in the city's Community Development Building.

County officials have examined the building's ventilation system, but no problems have been found and no other workers have displayed symptoms of legionnaires.

The disease first made headlines in 1976 when 29 American Legion members attending a convention in Philadelphia died mysteriously.

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