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Florida Girl, 4, Dies From Meningitis

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The family of a 4-year-old Bradenton girl diagnosed with meningitis last month says the child has died.

Belinda Dangerfield says the family decided to take her daughter, Essence Winkfield, off life support on Sunday after realizing she wasn’t going to make it. Dangerfield said, “We didn’t want her to suffer anymore.”

Essence was a voluntary pre-kindergarten student at Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton. Her parents said she started feeling sick the first weekend of February. At first, they gave her ibuprofen for a fever but then took her to a hospital after she developed a rash and became lethargic.

Dangerfield told Bay News 9 she wishes she had acted sooner. She is urging other parents to take their children to a doctor or hospital at the first signs of an illness, even a cold.