The State’s top doctor says there’s no link between the three people who’ve died recently in Iowa from meningitis. The latest victim, nine-year-old Samantha Hawkins of LeMars, died this weekend at a Sioux City hospital. State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk says the version of meningitis that killed Hawkins is extremely rareThe girl had a form of meningitis that evolved out of the bacteria that causes strep throat. Quinlisk says there’s only one type of meningitis that’s contagious.There have been seven cases of the contagious type of meningitis, and two of the people died. She says Iowa averages about 50 cases a year, with most occurring during the winter months. Quinlisk says meningitis is often an outgrowth of less serious illnesses.Meningitis is an infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and brain.