CHERRY HILL, NJ — According to CNN, medical authorities said they suspected that a woman attending a suburban Philadelphia convention died of pulmonary bacteria pneumonia, and not meningitis, as originally thought.

Joanne Hemstreet, of Kingston, MA, died Sunday, Feb. 10, at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Cherry Hill, NJ, according to hospital officials, several days after coming down with flu-like symptoms.

The hospital admitted six women and one man staying at the same hotel in Cherry Hill, located approximately 10 miles southeast of Philadelphia.

Doctors believed that Hemstreet died of an aggressive form of pneumonia. But they were still concerned that a rash covering her body might have been caused by the type of bacteria that causes meningitis. A definitive diagnosis, they said, should be available later this week.

Officials were quoted as saying they were also testing for Legionnaires' disease. The first known cases of this disease broke out in July 1976 during a Pennsylvania American Legion convention at a Philadelphia hotel.

Publication date: 02/11/2002