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Monday 22 April 2019
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Garcia calls for calm as another child treated for meningitis

Education Minister Anthony Garcia
Education Minister Anthony Garcia

EDUCATION Minister Anthony Garcia has called for calm after another student fell ill and is being treated for suspected meningitis. The disease killed five-year old Emily Browne last week Friday at the San Fernando General Hospital.

The Fifth Company Baptist Primary school, which Emily attended, is being sanitised and both students and teachers were visited by doctors and given emergency doses of antibiotics as a preventative measure.

The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) said Emily’s was one of two deaths in South Trinidad believed to have been caused by meningitis. Authority CEO Keith Mc Donald said there were about 14 suspected cases from the Moruga district being treated at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).

All of them are pending confirmation via laboratory tests.

The latest student suspected to have contracted the disease is a Form Two student of the San Fernando East Secondary School who fell ill at school on Wednesday.

Staff said the child was put in the sick bay and her parents later took her to a private doctor who diagnosed suspected meningitis.

They denied she was taken by ambulance to the SFGH as reported by the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA). Yesterday On Thursday morning the parents told principal Patricia Pitt of the doctor’s suspicion, trigging hysteria and panic among students, who began posting comments on social media that there was meningitis at the school.

Teachers who expressed discomfort over the situation were told to remove themselves from the school, which was dismissed early for sanitisation.

TTUTA president Lynsley Doodhai said public health inspectors visited the school and said the sick bay, Form 2 classrooms and the staff room should be sanitised and classes should resume as normal today.

He said they also identified symptoms of the disease and advised if students exhibiting any of them, they should be sent home to their parents for further investigations.

“TTUTA is concerned about the latest case of suspected meningitis. We expect that the protocols in such situations are strictly followed,” Doodhai said.

Garcia said there was no need for panic and hysteria and asked the public to remain calm until the diagnoses can be confirmed. He said the ministries of Education and Health are doing all they could to ensure the safety of all students, there are protocols to follow and only then could a determination be made.

On Saturday Emily’s funeral will take place.

Her father Davey Jones denied social media comments that the Ministry of Social Development denied him a funeral grant to bury his daughter. “That is false news. I made no such request,” he said yesterday.

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