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Reye’s Syndrome Claims Dick Van Dyke’s Granddaughter

April 8, 1987 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Jessica L. Van Dyke, the granddaughter of entertainer Dick Van Dyke, died after a struggle with Reye’s syndrome, a rare but devastating disease associated with taking aspirin during a viral illness.

Jessica, 13, an eighth-grader who died Monday, was the great-granddaughter of former Sen. Stephen M. Young, D-Ohio.

Reye’s syndrome causes severe swelling in the brain and liver. It is found mostly in children aged 5 to 15 after they have chicken pox, flu or another respiratory disease.

Jessica treated her chicken pox by taking about four tablets of aspirin on March 30, said her stepfather, Roger D. Heller.

Jessica began vomiting later that day. Vomiting is an early sign of Reye’s, but her family blamed the vomiting on her chicken pox, Heller said.

When Jessica became delirious Thursday, her parents took her to Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, and she was diagnosed that day, said Dr. Jeffrey L. Blumer, the hospital’s chief of pediatric pharmacology and critical care.

Jessica is survived by her father, Christian Van Dyke of Beaverton, Ore; her mother, Caroline A. Heller of Cleveland Heights; a brother and a sister.