A Miami day care will remain closed following reports that two toddlers possibly died from meningitis within a week of each other.
Dr. Alvaro Mejia, a medical epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, told WTVJ that a 22-month-old boy who died December 3 and a 2-year-old boy who died Sunday both attended the YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Center Day Care.
Dr. Reynald Jean, the head of epidemiology for the state health department’s office in Miami-Dade, told the Miami Herald that the state hasn’t confirmed whether either child died from meningitis. He also revealed that the 2-year-old died after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
WTVJ reports that the day care sent a letter to parents following the first child’s death warning them that a child in the day care had been diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis.
Though the letter allegedly omitted the fact that the child died, Dr. Jean claimed medical staff spoke with parents the day the letter was issued.
“We told them the child had passed,” he told the Herald. “But they already knew about it.”
Miami-Dade County spokesperson Jose Galan claimed the YWCA voluntarily shut down on Tuesday and will remain closed as the Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Children and Families investigate.
“The entire YWCA family is heartbroken by the loss of these precious lives and offer our sincere condolences to their parents, families, and friends,” YWCA CEO Kerry-Ann Royes wrote.
“The health, safety, and well-being of our YWCA families and staff are our greatest concern.”
Mejia also said that officials should know by Friday whether the two deaths were linked and if they were caused by the same organism.
The Department of Health said that anyone exhibiting symptoms of meningitis–which includes fever, severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness or confusion, nausea, and vomiting–should immediately seek medical treatment.
“The most effective way to prevent this illness is to wash hands thoroughly and frequently, use proper respiratory hygiene, not to share eating or drinking utensils, and dispose of tissues properly,” officials said.
[Featured Image: WTVJ video screengrab]