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Tests pending on another possible Fallon leukemia case

SANDRA CHEREB, Associated Press Writer

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Test results are pending to determine if another youngster in Fallon has fallen victim to a childhood leukemia cluster, state health officials confirmed Monday.

“We have had a case reported but it has not been confirmed,” said John Flamm, spokesman for the Nevada Health Division. He would not release further details.

“Once we have confirmation, we will release all the information,” Flamm said. “We’ve had false cases before.”



The child was taken to an undisclosed hospital for bone marrow testing, Flamm said.

If confirmed, the case would bring to 15 the number of children with ties to the Navy and farming town diagnosed with the disease since 1997.



Two patients died this summer.

Stephanie Sands died Sept. 1 at a Pennsylvania hospital after battling the disease for two years. She was 21.

Ten-year-old Adam Jernee died June 3 in Southern California after fighting the disease for a year.

The cancer cluster was identified a year ago and state health officials suspect an environmental cause.

The largely agricultural community 60 miles east of Reno is home to Fallon Naval Air Station, where the Navy maintains its elite “Top Gun” fighter pilot school.

This fall, federal health investigators collected blood, urine and DNA samples from the Fallon patients, their families and control group families in a search for a cause.

Studies of pollution data and well water are also ongoing.

Of the cases confirmed so far, 13 were diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or ALL, and one was diagnosed with Acute Myelocytic Leukemia, or AML.

Health officials have said that given an average rate of ALL of about three childhood cases per 100,000 children, they would normally expect to see about one case every five years in Churchill County, based on its population.


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